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I climbed into our loft to be Con­fronted by our Christ­mas tree. A plas­tic, ar­ti­fi­cial thing For which no her­ald an­gels sing. Stored since last year, up there it’s sat, Its wire branches folded flat, With tacked-on bulbs — red, green and white — That on a mid­night clear add light. We bought it from a lo­cal store. A pile of them were by the door. ‘All clear­ance stock now priced to sell: But only till the First Noel!’ It doesn’t take up too much space And came with its own flow­er­pot base. We stand it in the front room bay In case the faith­ful come our way. And Christ­mas Eve, be­neath its spread — Af­ter the kids have gone to bed — We place the gifts that will ex­cite And then en­joy a si­lent night. A few mince pies, a glass of wine We like to use this spe­cial time To view an old film on the box Just as the shep­herds watched their flocks. Some say that Christ­mas means much more Than tur­key, trees and gifts ga­lore. But, for me, there is no dan­ger Of away-days in a manger. No Mid­night Mass, no Holy Night, No Star of Beth­le­hem shin­ing bright, No watch­ing the Na­tiv­ity; Just my tacky Christ­mas tree. Ken Elvy, Lon­don W2.

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