a maple-glazed ham
yes, with mustard!
instead of the turkey
(no sense in a bird
with just the two of us)

and perhaps too-fancy
French piped potatoes –
in little whorled peaks
instead of the sugary,
too-sweet pile of yams

even the pie this year
will be something new –
pumpkin with a spice
I’ve never used (enough
and more for just us)

closing in on middle age
and still I find myself
stumbling around traditions –
finding or making them up
as I push through the years

and for the day after,
a tree like no one else’s
will gleam in silvers
and blues while I hang
two hundred tiny beads

and all the while dance
to Ladysmith Black Mambazo
like Santa isn’t watching
and be grateful that this year’s
new tradition is you

© Sarah Whiteley


  1. But, Sarah…what about leftovers? …leftovers for a day or two, and then turkey pot pie….turkey soup…cranberry-turkey-and stuffing club… gravy and turkey sandwich….individual packs of turkey meat for the freezer…leftovers seemingly forever…leftovers up the whazoo… 🙂



    1. oh how I remember the turkey leftovers – felt like we ate turkey for two weeks straight when we were kids! 🙂 maybe this is why I’m shying away from it? that, and I have a very small oven in my very tiny kitchen – I’d need a crowbar



  2. There are always beloved traditions that at we take out and hold in our minds, warm our hands with the memories. But newly minted traditions are always special to enshrine -‘ this is what we will do each year’, and then have those moments of ‘remember when we…’
    This year is beef brisket and corn pudding – turkeys are safe from us this year.
    Sarah, may your feast be love filled and sweetened with new traditions.



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