'Twas the morning after Christmas, and all through the house,

'Twas the morning after Christmas, and all through the house,

With family still sleeping, I was quiet like a mouse.

The stockings aren't hung by the fireplace with care,

Today they're all empty — on the couch or a chair.

Toys strewn about "… in leftover excess,

So much stuff that's unnecessary — it's a mess, I confess.

Grandchildren late-sleeping, still in their beds,

Exhausted by all this — what dreams in their heads?

Hubby in his bathrobe, and me in mine, too.

We'd decided to talk about just what to do "…

When out on the porch there arose a small clatter,

Neither of us sure, "what could be the matter?"

Away to the door I flew like a flash,

Pulled at the knob — made quite a mad dash.

The sun coming up on the night-before snow

Gave a luster of morning and a world all aglow.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear?

A vision of just how we should do it next year.

An idea about how we make the holiday better;

Less focus on toys and getting just the right sweater.

More attention to loving and the joy of good rhymes,

Less concern about things and "who's where" at what times.

Synapses connecting, my ideas now came,

I shouted them out, called each thought by name.

"Less Gifting!" "More Talking!" and games by the fire;

More dog-walking and church time — more hugs than required.

Let's have dancing and silliness, lots more pure joy;

Fewer presents to unwrap; more family time to enjoy.

And I turned to my husband with all of these thoughts,

"We must think about Christmas with less emphasis on what's bought."

But he said it better, in a more thoughtful way,

"Let's make the day after Christmas our new holiday."

Let's make it a day where more attention is given

To good works and God's plan and what might be in heaven.

Let's use this day well, cherish laughter and sorrow,

And then "… let's do exactly the same with tomorrow.

Sharon Johnson is an associate professor in health and human sciences at Oregon State University and on the faculty of the OSU Extension. E-mail her at s.johnson@oregonstate.edu or call 541-776-7371, Ext. 210.