Christmas Poetry

To Blanche
        from Elmer
                with Love

A lifetime of Elmer Riggins'
Christmas poems from long ago

Annotated (in italics) by David Rathgeber

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1928

Here's a gift and a wish from HIM
   And I'll tell you just the reason.
You've been longing for a swim
   And I think this Yuletide Season
Is the proper time and this
   Is as good a place as any
To show my little "Miss"
   How much she's welcome to the "penny."

May your Christmas be as happy
   As a day spent in the pool
And your new Year, says your "Pappy,"
   Be as Carefree as a fool.

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1932

In the early dawn it is no joke
To leave a warm bed the furnace to stoke.

So it may help some when you're one of the "trippers"
To wear on your journeys a good pair of slippers.

   May your Christmas be Merry, and the joy thereof
      Linger through all the days yet to come.


Elmer was somewhat of an inventor. In the days when one had to feed and "stoke" a convection, coal-burning furnace, he rigged a wind-up alarm clock to go off early each morning. Instead of making a sound, it would release a string and drop a counter-weight to open a draft-door, close the damper, and fire up the furnace automatically. When it was time to get out of bed, the house would be warm.

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1933

This is the Season we treasure most, Dear;
And we do what we can for those far and near.
When Winter nights try with their winds to frighten
Our job is to help each burden to lighten.

So, now, before we both grow old,
I'll try to help you banish the cold
And trust the robe'll be warm and look smart
As it serves to cover a HAPPY HEART.


Times have changed. It would seem a bit strange today to hear someone aged 43 talk of growing old.

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1934

Though I've searched the earth and Heaven and Hades
   To find a gift that would serve you well
I could not find the perfect thing
   That one could be sure much joy would bring.

But here is a token, the best I can do
   To replace the worn out with something new.
That you will like it I trust and pray,
   So with "Merry Christmas" I fill this tray.

And if you look further you may find a fiver
   To buy what you wish for my "Back Seat Driver;"
And not only that one, but maybe another
   To use the same way from your
               Front Seat Lover.


Blanche and Elmer did not own a car in 1934. They bought their very first car in 1950. The major means of transportation for most of their lives was the public bus.

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1935

Sing a song of Christmas,
   A bucket full of "buy"
Four and twenty glad words
   Raise our spirits high.

When this box is opened
   You may find a ring;
'Tho it may be just a wish
   Or some other thing.

When they ask you what you got,
   You say, "Haven't you heard?
I received a Coldspot
   November twenty-third."

If your luck seems pretty tough
   Nothing else to show,
You may get some other stuff
   With this piece of "dough."

So, "Merry Christmas" to my wife
   Who is so short and stubby.
May you be happy all your life
   Is the wish of your old Hubby.


"Coldspot" was a company that made electric refrigerators. The era of the ice-box was coming to an end.
Short and stubby, Blanche was 4' 11" tall, Elmer 6' 1" somewhat of a size disparity.


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1936

      Guess What?

At this time of the year
When the theme we most hear
Is of Christmas and Santa and all his reindeer,
It comes to my mind
That it's almost the time
To show my dear Pal that she's still very near.

So, if you will take
Steps to keep you awake
While you listen to this alleged verse,
You will in due course
Learn it's not a Greek horse
That you're getting with it--nor a purse.

Perhaps a bottle of Rye
Would attract your eye --
Not the gift, but the "spirit" that's in it.
But, if, after each guess
You will have to confess
That you're wrong, none the less you will win it.
When you're young it's great fun
To take a long run
Barefoot-ed or in stocking feet;
--Wait; here in verse four
Look back -- the underscore
Give the hints. Feel the heat?

To make a long story short
It's a bottle of Port
And the purse has some long green in it.
The long run that you see
In verse next after three
Comes in hose, when you catch a pin in it.

So, let us all go "off our trolley"
To make this Christmas jolly;
This is no time for one to shed a tear.
And then, while we are at it
We might pitch the ball and bat it
For a home run and a Happy New Year.

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1937

Now we have passed through the Holiday throng
   And approach Christmas Day, let it be with a song,
For the spirit of joy and good will all around
   Filters through to our hearts; and there may it abound.

May this be our fortune: Let not a tear
   Dim the outlook for peace in the coming year.
And as we go forward, together we'll go
   Finding happiness there--still a girl and her beau.

A verse like this is sure to be mottled
   But the spirit thereof, though it should not be bottled,
May be expressed in a symbol and the very next line
   Will show that to be just a bottle of wine.

Should you be curious to look at the label
   You'd better not wait 'till we're all at the table
But quickly unpack it like an impetuous flapper,
   Paying strict attention to the inside wrapper.


The "inside wrapper" for the bottle of wine was a special sheet of wrap carefully fashioned from $10 bills.

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1938

Little Boop-eep has lost some sleep
   Preparing for Christmas giving.
It's all over when 1-5-3-X-10
   Discovers at last she's living.

There are others, too, who have to do
   Many things to advance the Season
But it seems like fun when at last it's done
   And we stop to relax and reason.

Of all the good things that Christmas brings
   Whether packaged and wrapped or not
The extra good cheer that is put in high gear
   Is the one we like best of the lot.

This big box you see just under the tree
   Contains a few things your hints did suggest
But it's not big enough to hold all of the stuff
   When love is put in with the rest.

So, I'm leaving that out and I have no doubt
   You will know right where to find it;
Just look around-it's entirely unbound--
   And your smile will surely unwind it.

With this last verse (the rhyme couldn't be worse)
   I wish you a Christmas so Merry
That the ones gone by will not even tie--
   It will be so Very, Very.

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1939

The frost was on the pumpkin;
   Now the pumpkin's in the pie
As the time is nearing Christmas
   And the Turkey's hanging high.
So the Season moulds our thought waves
   As the baker does his dough
Into forms of merry-making,
   Gifts, eats and mistletoe.

And of those with whom we share it
   There is one we can't leave out.
You'll guess of whom I'm thinking--
   One, short and not too stout.
But her physical description
   Though it suits us to a "T"
Is eclipsed by her good nature--
   Makes her lovely as can be.

And now that I have said it,
   Even tried to make it rhyme,
We will turn to other matters
   As befits this day and time.
But before we go much further
   There is something you should know:
It pays to save the wrappers
   And see their value grow.

The gift that you will find therein
   Is but a flowing token;
An essence, it would seem to be
   Of greater love unspoken.
And when its measured life has gone
   Into the dim lit past,
Remember that, unlike the gift,
   The giver's love will last.


The gift was perfume.

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1940

You know, it's hard and mighty tough
   To find a token good enough
To carry my wish at a time like this
   For your Christmas and New Year filled with bliss.

And all I could say if my mind would unlock
   Is, may you be happy the 'round of the clock;
Not only today and as long as it runs
   But thereafter for aye, plus many "Great Suns."

If, after you've read and disposed of this rhyme
   You will glance at the clock and there find time
To look again, I surely think
   You will probably come upon something to drink.

And if you do, we'll drink it together
   As we've pal'd along in all kinds of weather.
So here's to your happiness, Sweetheart of mine,
   Continuing on past the end of the wine.


The gifts were a "Sun and Moon" clock and a bottle of wine.

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1941

Here at last and yet so soon
Comes Christmas time. Let our hearts sing
And certainly we'll strike a tune
Of happiness in everything.

And on this Yule just as before
We'll let our thoughts float free as birds
And love each other -- only more
In harmony too full for words.

The gift enclosed is but a note
But may it help complete the score
To make a song which you will vote
Merrier than any sung before.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


The bombing of Pearl Harbor, less than 3 weeks earlier, seems temporarily out of mind during the holidays.

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1942

Scarcity of this and shortage of that,
Production of want and reduction of fat,
Material things vanishing during the war
Leaves us to ponder what Christmas is for.

But contentment of mind and peace of the soul
Can not be bought and wrapped up like a dole.
It is found in the heart, I think you'll agree,
When we are tuned to each other -- I to you, you to me.

That all may be true, but it seems only fair
To symbolize feelings by exchanging a share
Of material blessings which we may possess
For that seems to promote mutual happiness.

So here is my gift and you may use it
In any manner that you may deem fit.
Suggestions -- a mirror and maybe a clock,
Or stow it in the accompanying "sock."

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1943

Little Blanche Moeller
Wants a one-holer
   On which to sit and try.
If she sticks in a finger
And pulls out a "ringer"
   That's just what she can buy.

But that is not all
She has on the ball
   For 'tis Christmas by the clock.
So she looks once more
As on years before
   And finds at least one nylon sock.

Yet that's not enough;
But the other stuff
   Is something to feel, not see --
Merry Christmas to you,
Gladness all the year through,
   And love to you from me.

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1944

Your charm is not known to the world, Dear,
And that may be lucky for me,
For if every man knew you as I do
One might steal you away, you see;
So I'll keep you and cherish you always,
And my heart at your feet I will lay,
Then I'll work for your happiness,
      Sweetheart;
And to prove it, here's a gift that "Ain't hay."

The gift that "Ain't hay" you may use, Dear,
To procure any thing you may pick,
And as you step out in your dances,
Close to you I'll be happy to stick.
With that I'll wish you a Christmas
As merry as those gone before;
Then a New Year full of happiness,
      Sweetheart,
Enhanced by the end of the war.


"D-Day" was June 6. The invasion had gone well, and by Christmas the end of the war in Europe was in sight.

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1945

I've looked high and low in fair weather and foul
To find what I thought you would like --
A dress and a sable -- a cocktail table --
But I just couldn't make the "strike."

So I guess this year you must wait for the gear
Until business is normal, My Honey,
And while waiting, I guess, we'll have time to caress;
In the meantime, I hope you'll take money.

Again -- Merry Christmas
      and Happy New Year


For reference, it had been an important year: "VE-Day" May 8, the Hiroshima bombing August 6, and "VJ-Day" September 2. George was home from the Pacific theater by Christmas!

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1946

Were I but wise enough, Sweetheart,
   I'd gladly to you tote,
   A mirror, clock or radio,
   A record changer or raincoat.
But of this much be sure, Sweetheart,
   Tho' I'm not smart, at least
   There's one thing you will find, my dear,
   A love as bounteous as a feast.
And now I wish to you, Sweetheart,
   A Merry Christmas Day;
   A New Year that is Happy through --
Contentment all the way.

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1947

The years which pass so swiftly by
   Bring problems old and new
But there is one that's quickly solved
   When Yule time comes in view.
      Merry Christmas

My shopping list is kept quite short
   Any purchases are few
Just a gift or so with a verse to go--
   All the rest I let you do!
      Merry Christmas

That I appreciate your help
   I tell you with elation
And assure you, too, that my love for you
   Increases as "Inflation!"
      Merry Christmas

This little gift might show you now
   That in my heart I care.
Like sugar and cream, or so it would seem,
   Together our love we'll share.
      Merry Christmas

And as the hive is but the shell
   Which contains the gold of bees,
This gift you rate is but the strait
   That connects a couple of "Cs!"
      HAPPY NEW YEAR!


A reference to post-war inflation when ex-service men with too much money were chasing too small an inventory of consumer goods. Conversion back to consumer goods production from the war-time economy would solve the problem.
The reference to a "strait that connects a couple of Cs" demonstrates both Elmer's nautical mindset as well as the fact that he was an incurable punster.


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1948

It's everything about you, Dear
That makes me love you so
It's the understanding ways you have
The thoughtfulness you show.

And now as Christmas comes again
I send this note to say
"A Merry Christmas to the one
I love still more each day.

I think I mentioned in line six
"This note" -- that's only one.
On second thought, there's more to add.
You'll find, before you're done.

And when in your sweetheart chair you sit
To relax awhile and bend your ear
I hope the programs that you like
Come through your radio good and clear.

In archery, pistol, skeet and trap
To miss an inch is as good as a mile.
But when it comes to Santa Claus
The myth is good for a smile.

So hit the mark -- cast your cares away
And dwell on the brighter side.
Have a Merry season and a happy new year
Follow through from this Christmastide.


Elmer was a member of the Square-Circle Sportsman's Club of Gibbsboro, New Jersey. The club sponsored all kinds of sporting and family activities.

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1949

Procrastination, that thief of time
   Has done his best to delay this rhyme;
It's now half-past six on Christmas Eve
   High time I'm pulling a trick from my sleeve.
      What's in the bag?
         A Happy Christmas!

For if I missed out on this chore
   I fear you'd feel just a little sore
So before that occurs and your spirits sag
   I'll say your gift, with my love, 's in the bag.
         A Joyous Christmas!

Now let our hearts take a little tour
   Through past, present and future just to assure
Each other that we need no tag
   To remind us of love -- it's in the bag!
         A Lovely Christmas!

Old years may go, new years will come;
   We've seen quite a few and then some
But one thought remains, as we both know,
   My love is as constant as the river's flow.
      It's in the bag!
         A Perfect Christmas!

      Your outboarding inboarder.


During 1949 Elmer had purchased a 5 horsepower Evinrude outboard motor to further his lifelong love of fishing.

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1950

You know, that was my lucky day --
   Good fortune, just to win you
You're just the "tops" in every way;
   There is no word "agin" you.

All week long, cold, hot or storm
   Both morn and night you labor
To make a home for the kids and me
   And things for friend and neighbor.

And though I always think of it
   But very seldom say it
At Christmas time I feel as though
   I'd like to try and repay it.

But when you have a wife like that
   You'll always be unable
To square the score with gifts galore
   Even of mink and sable.

Then, just because the debt's so big
   Is no reason for not trying
To do as much as you possibly can
   Except, of course, the buying.

So, in the box, Blanche, you will find
   With all my love, a little "roll"
To wish you Merry Christmas and
   To help you get your wished for stole.

And a happy new year, too!

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1951

Although from ONE the HALVES are split
   The lesser FRACTION -- this is true --
Is the ONE who don't "git up and git"
   When Christmas SHOPPING's here to do.

But when "C - DAY" is here at last
   And the GREATER half is 'most a wreck
The LESSER half who can still laugh
   Comes across with the SAME OLD THING - a check.

And if your greatest FUN'S to guess
   What GIFTS are going to pass around
You'd better guess you'll get a DRESS
   To replace the ONE worn out in town.

With these MATERIAL things you get
   Goes all my LOVE, from A to Z
And that's no FRACTION, you can bet --
   It's the WHOLE of it from me to thee.

To wish you a merry Christmas
      and a happy New Year.

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1952

A lady in Oaklyn, near Gloucester
Whose husband never (?) has bossed her
   Might some day turn cold
   And then he'd lose his hold
That's why his gift is a defroster.

In past years her spouse, the old geezer.
Gave her ice trays, refrigerators and freezer.
   These things -- the whole lot --
   Won't keep anything hot
So the defroster, he thought, now might please her.

If this disappoints, for good measure
He includes the usual treasure
   'Tho some call it trash
   Still, the fact is hard cash
May be spent and enjoyed at one's leisure.

When it's money, you know, you can blow it;
When it's love, you don't waste it, you show it.
   And you have that, too,
   All of it -- and true,
I'll say it again, though you know it.

At last, you see, the limerick goes
And once again we're back to prose
   With the same old dish
   That grand old wish
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, an end to your woes.


The gift was a self-defrosting refrigerator. Pretty fancy!

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1953

Your love adds the "Merry" to Christmas,
   As it brightens each day of the year,
It's my sweetness in life and my comfort-
   The gift that means most to me Dear.

And whether I say it at Christmas,
   Or forget, as I'm likely to do,
I love you and hope you'll be happy-
   As happy as I am with you!

Oft times as we sail on life's currents
   Trouble comes just to test our mettle
But soon passes, if we pray and whistle,
   Like the steam from a modern tea kettle.

When our sleep is disturbed by ill dreaming
   And we feel that we can't stay in bed,
It may help to bring peace and contentment
   If we don a gay brunch coat of red.

Then give thanks for the blessings God given,
   Recalling days that were pleasant and sunny;
Thrust our hand in the large brunch coat pocket
   And with confidence find some more money.

These material gifts are but tokens
   Of the Great Gift from our God above
Which came down at a time we call "Christmas:
   And proved beyond all doubt, His love.

Now read the first two verses over --
   They were written professionally, you see --
But the lines are as full of my meaning
   As though they were written by me.

   A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

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1954

Christmas, Blanche, is a time for getting
As well as a time, you see, for giving
So as you receive the gifts you get
Others will get the gifts you give.

But as you receive be not forgetting
That it's nice also to be forgiving
So if this seems like a mixed up mess
I'll finish by asking your forgiveness.

There's one idea, though, that is not at all jumbled
It's clear and true enough not to be mumbled,
And that is my love since the day I stumbled
And found that you cared for me even when I grumbled.

To express this love, at least in part,
You will find a gift direct from my heart.
It is one that by now as you might expect
Can be written out on a bank check.

Then to smooth the rough edges of a gift so crude
Look for another while you're in the mood.
It will be marked, (now what's your guess)
"CAN be opened at Christmas."

And just to think this all begun
Many years ago with the Birth of One
Whom we refer to as other none
Than Jesus Christ, God's only Son.

So while we're having fun this Season
Let's all join in, with rhyme and reason,
And sing, all us creatures here below,
A song we know to be apropos:

   "Happy Birthday to You
   "Happy Birthday to You
   "Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus,
   "Happy Birthday to YOU"!

With my love and best wishes for
a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

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1955

This is true, as well you know it,
   Tho' it's hard to find the reason
Why a man takes it for granted --
   Waits to tell you at this Season.

It may be, God's gift reminds us
   As each Christmas time draws near
That LOVE goes with TOKEN given --
   That the fact is nice to hear.

In remembrance of the Christ Child
   And of Peace -- Good Will to Men
Please accept this same old paper
   Which, translated, means again

I love you and wish you a very
   MERRY CHRISTMAS
    and a
   HAPPY NEW YEAR

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1956

Behold, another year has passed
   And Christmas time has come at last
To be observed, we have no doubt,
   By putting worry and care to rout.

So if you will consent to do it
   Join me and we'll dance right thru it
Displaying, as befits the day
   Hearts full of love, carefree and gay.

Now all the preparation's done
   Perhaps in retrospect 'twas fun;
Trying to decide on this or that
   Nearly threw you flat on the mat.

But as each gift came through the door
   The problem became one less -- not more
And now we're ready for Christmas Day
   Let's make it MERRY in the usual way.

Though we've been tossed about as on ocean rough
   Year after year, we don't get enough.
We'll look and see what's washed on deck
   And what do we find? The usual CHECK!

 MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR
WITH LOVE AND KISSES, ALL FOR YOU, DEAR

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1957

The atoms split, the rockets roar
And speeds the missiles as they soar
From earth clear through the atmosphere
Into space, untold miles from here.

All the speed -- nay, all the haste
Seems in the end just so much waste
For, after all, we have to wait
For time to pass -- it has one gait.

And all the science men can show
Won't bring Christmas sooner, as you know.
So just relax 'till time has passed
And the DAY arrives -- CHRISTMAS at last!

This one is here; for me, sixty-seven
For you, I hope, it will seem like heaven.
A chore is yours, the turkey to baste
Then after we've eaten, dispose of the waste

Which I trust you can do in a way serene
By the use of a gift -- a disposal machine.
Before going in the galley, though, look on deck
And you will also find: The Inevitable Check.

To you, Blanche, a merry Christmas
      and a happy New Year
      with love

      Elmer

All in remembrance of Christ's birthday.


Sputnik caused some consternation when it was launched in October, about 3 months ahead of the first U.S. satellite, Explorer.

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1958

If a Christmas gift you expect from your beau,
An atom of value, as mere THINGS go,
Then you'll not be disappointed when you find some dough
Hugging close to the tree or the mistletoe.

If you find it you'll know that your long-time mate
Put it there with the thought that you're still first rate.
Even if the last minute was nearly too late
To prevent your having a good long wait.

For the gift was a tardy child of his brain
Born in the middle of a down-pouring rain.
Inclement weather proved once again
That storms we endure are not all in vain.

Precipitation falls on all in the boat
Whether we're adults, kids, or a goat
And the wise prepare with umbrellas to tote
Or better yet, wear a good rain coat.

There is one more thing that I must say
That is to wish you a fine Christmas Day
And if you listen, I'm sure you will hear
That I trust you will have a
      Happy New Year.

With reverence to the Deity and
      Love to you

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1959

Another year is near its end
When Christmas Day arrives
And conscience prompts your man to send
His greeting to the best of wives.

We've traveled far in space and time
Always together, thanks be to Fate.
To reach this point in the finest clime
That seems to suit this Famous Date

We've traveled North, South, West and East
By train, by boat, by plane and car
And even by Shank's mare, at least
When destination's not too far.

And so we think at such a pace,
The gift that seems to be most fitting
Is a nice, light, roomy pullman case
To lug the things one needs in flitting.

But when you need some things at hand
And they are in the baggage space
That's piled with others to beat the band
You may enjoy a small train case.

So when you think of going again
Pack them both high, wide and low
They'll stand the weather, sun or rain
When you have to go, you go, you know?
"What with?" you say. Oh, what the heck!
Just look around and you'll find the check!

The occasion of this gift is in
commemoration of the birthday of
Christ, more familiarly known
as Christmas Day.
May yours be a merry one and
your new year be the finest.


"Shank's mare" is a Scottish term referring to travel on foot.

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1960

Another year draws to a close
With Christmas so let's celebrate it
And give our thanks in verse and prose
For every blessing, and trust we rate it.

We fear we don't but by God's grace
A pardon's ours. Do not forget
To put a smile upon your face
And in your heart, goodwill's a bet!

To emphasize this is my wish
And may you always find it handy
To keep a footed covered dish
Meant for sweets like you, including candy.

And now comes the part you most expected--
The check which I trust that you will like.
It's as certain as John Kennedy's elected
To take the helm from our friend, Ike.

   Once again, A Merry Christmas
   and the Happiest of New Years
   Let's do our best and have more fun
   Until the close of sixty-one.

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1961

Now is the time to get down to the task
And with pencil in hand try to remove the mask
From your face woe it can not look glum --
Brighten up, dear, you know Christmas has come!

Let the joy you feel show what good things you think
And the reward will be richer than a gift of mink.
Cast off your troubles and with heart light as a feather
You will find contentment in all kinds of weather.

The things that disturb you -- the doubts and the fears --
Cut them out at once if you can find some shears.
Guess what you'll get and reduce the tension;
To assist you are objects which this verse did mention.

The meaning of Christmas, with Christ the best Gift
Must always be present at this time and season.
Remembering this gives us such a big lift
That the thought of forgetting is without rhyme or reason.


So, with all my heart, I wish you

      A MERRY CHRISTMAS
         and
      A HAPPY NEW YEAR

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1962

Speaking of problems there's one very great
It's trying to find a good gift for my mate.
I can go to the shops and look all around
Where goods are displayed by the yard, each and pound
But nary a thing below or above
Do I consider just right to express my love.

So again this year the same as the rest
The check is the thing I believe is the best.
For while I believe you have everything
Your idea machine without doubt will bring
A desire or two that will fill the bill
And leave only problems for me at the mill.

There's something, though, I can say right here
The same as I have every other year --
No exception this Christmas, I hope it's merry
And in the new year you'll be very happy
Still living together with the same old pappy.

Just another thought and it's great you can bet
With megatons of love and not an atom of regret
I hope the nuclear reaction will develop next year
Into a big explosion of love and good cheer.

   And now let us be thankful to God
that he has kept us in possession of our
faculties so we can enjoy this Christmas
season with our families in honor of Christ.

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1963

Here's another Christmas Eve
And one year more.
We wonder what'll Santa bring
Besides this little chore.

Time flies on from eve to night
Leaving Santa quite perplexed
Wondering how he's going to write
All the while his mind's so flexed.

Well, he may leave a little wealth;
Perhaps a want, maybe a need
Or most of all a share of health
Which all agree is best indeed.

Or both -- for wealth, the old robe's worn
The thought now is to just renew it.
For health, what's better than good food
And new store teeth to help one chew it.

The problem's solved, bring on the band
And play the tune you've heard before
About a check for half-a-grand
Which lends a richness to the score.

And now you'll find a message neat
Better than ever I could say it
On the other side of this typed sheet
Printed in the place to best display it.

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1964

It sounds as if someone is coming.
Do you hear what I hear? Ho, Ho, Ho!
Let's look and see if it's Santa
Or someone like him you know.

Whoever it is you're jolly well sure
He is loaded with gifts and full of life
While the pack on his back is so gol dern heavy
It cuts into his shoulder like an electric knife.

But that never will stop him
And he always will say,
"I hope you'll be merry
On this Christmas Day."

And if it will help you --
Make your spirits lift --
We'll all be happy
If you accept this small gift.

For the value of a gift
Can not be measured when you price it.
Rather, it's the pleasure it produces
It makes no difference how you slice it.

With a sincere wish I close this little note
Written Christmas Eve with my love to you
That you will have a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year, too.

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1965

"What in the world could Santa bring?"
   Is the question I asked of my friend, Mr. Powers,
"To the woman who says she has everything."
   And he answered me, "Why not say it with flours?"

So, I took his advice and thought, "What the heck?--
   That's what I'll do and hope it's all right.
I'll present the flours along with the check
   To express my love and keep Christmas bright."

Your husband, you know, is O. K. BUT
   He's just a little queer sort of a bloke --
One might even say he is just a "NUT"
   Who will go far out for a practical joke.

No kidding, though, and WITH ALL MY HEART
I wish you, Blanche, a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND
A HEALTHFUL AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.

   To my Beautiful Wife from your Loving Husband.

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1966

It's later than I think
   With all this blow and snow
I'm sure we're on the brink
   Of a blizzard here below.

That's why the time is Christmas Day
   And still your gift's not wrapped
The store was closed when I went that way
   Though that event was quite unmapped.

But I tried again in the afternoon
   And picked it up not a bit too soon.

Not too soon was a bit too late
   To write a verse on Christmas Eve
Since we dined at George's to keep a date
   And when I came home we had to leave.

But as soon as Doug makes a path in the snow
   To the trunk of the car, I'll bring in the chair
Through the glistening deep, ten inches or so,
   And I hope this time with me you will bear.

When in days to come you sit and sew
   I hope you will not fail to remember
That you have my love and will always know
   It continues so to each December.

      Again, A Merry Christmas
         and a Happy New Year Sixty Seven.


Dorothy's son Douglas was the designated snow shoveler.

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1967

It's About Time

They say there's a time for everything
   And Christmas time is now at hand.
I hope you'll agree this is the right time
   To adorn your wrist with a new watch and band.

You know the idea was not in my head
   Until you gave me an Accutron
Then the thought germinated, the idea spread
   And the gift was selected, thereupon.

Now to show it was not a final decision
   You will also find a check for a grand
Which may come in handy for a television
   To insure you can see the best shows in the land.


To Blanche,
      With all my love and devotion
      I wish you a Merry Christmas
   And may your New Year be a Happy Time.
         Elmer

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

1968

Christmas this year came all too soon
As three of the astronauts flew to the moon.
They're confined in a space ship in yonder blue
While many of us here are confined with the flu.

But all this preoccupation won't serve to blot out
the meaning of Christmas and what it's about.
The good will to men, and women, too,
That fashions our thoughts and things that we do.

So here is my thought which pertains to you,
Be happy this Christmas and all next year through.
And if it should happen some rain will fall
I hope you'll keep dry -- head, feet, dresses and all.

Any now I will tell you, as always my love
Constantly overcomes and rises above
All the petty annoyances that come to hand
And as evidence of it, please accept this grand.


Astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders departed on December 21 to be the first men to orbit the moon. On the 25th they provided up-to-the-minute reports of a flying sleigh with 8 reindeer. They returned to earth December 27.

         *  *  *  *  *  *  *

1969

In St. Luke's the past seventeen days
You know I've spent some stormy weather
But coming home on Christmas Eve
Makes me happy now that we're together.
It's tough enough when we're apart;
Now with your love I'm doing fine.
A Merry Christmas is insured, Sweetheart,
To add to past ones this sixty-nine.

As usual as you might expect
The high ball glasses here on hand
Are coming to you with all my love
And another token of one grand.

May our New Year 1970 be as
good together as past years have been.


St. Lukes is the hospital in Phiadelphia where Elmer had an operation for colon cancer. His fight would be over in just under a year.


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Elmer George Riggins 1890 - 1970

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* * * Copyright © David Rathgeber * * *
* * * All rights reserved. * * *