A LITTLE GEM WRITTEN BY E.B. WHITE, DEC 1952
From this high midtown hall, undecked with boughs, unfortified with mistletoe, we send forth our tinseled greetings as of old, to friends, to readers, to strangers of many conditions in many places.
Merry Christmas to uncertified accountants, to tellers who have made a mistake in addition, to girls who have made a mistake in judgement, to grounded airline passengers, and to all those who can’t eat clams! We greet with particular warmth people who wake and smell smoke. To captains of river boats on snowy mornings we send an answering toot at this holiday time.
Merry Christmas to intellectuals and other despised minorities!
Merry Christmas to the musicians of Muzak and men whose shoes don’t fit! Greetings of the season to unemployed actors and the blacklisted everywhere who suffer from sins uncommitted; a holly thorn in the thumb of compilers of lists!
Greetings to wives who can’t find their glasses and to poets who can’t find their rhymes!
Merry Christmas to old men asleep in libraries! Merry Christmas to people who can’t stay in the same room with a cat! We greet, too, the boarders in boarding houses on 25 December, the duennas in Central Park in fair weather and foul, and young lovers who got nothing in the mail.
Merry Christmas to people who plant trees in the streets; Merry Christmas to people who save prairie chickens from extinction! Greetings of a pure mechanical sort to machines that think—plus a spring of artificial holly. Joyous Yule to Cadillac owners whose conduct is unworthy of their car!
Merry Christmas to the defeated, the forgotten, the inept; Joy to all dandiprats and bunglers! We send, most particularly and most hopefully, our greeting and our prayers to soldiers and guardsmen on land and sea and in the air—the young men doing the hardest things at the hardest time of life. To all such, Merry Christmas, blessings and good luck! We greet the Secretaries-designate, the President elect; Merry Christmas to our new leaders, peace on earth, good will, and good management!
Merry Christmas to couples unhappy in doorways! Merry Christmas to all who think they are in love but aren’t sure!
Greetings to people waiting for trains that will take them in the wrong direction, to people doing up a bundle and the string is too short, to children with sleds and no snow! We greet ministers who can’t think of a moral, gagmen who can’t think of a joke.
Greetings too, to the inhabitants of other planets; see you soon!
At last, we greet all skaters on small natural ponds at the edge of the wood toward the end of afternoon. Merry Christmas, skaters! Ring, steel! Grow red, sky! Die down, wind!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good morrow!
– Sarajane Giere, author of award-winning book, My Pilot: A Story of War, Love, and ALS, resides in West Caldwell, NJ. Contact her at: