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Competitors were asked for the ‘upsides. downsides, or indeed any sides, of Christmas’, but it was clearly the downsides that carried the day. Holly (but no robins), mince-pies, sulphurous green globules, (an overwhelming concern of Geoff Lander’s), plastic mistletoe, Elvis, the man with the beard, trees and snow all duly appeared in the bulging mixed bag of entries. These plumbed the depths of the season of D.A. Prince’s ‘Glitter and baubles, tinselly stuff’ or Mae Scanlan’s ‘major familial rifts’ when, as Emma Power noted, ‘mum’s temper boils over like the sprouts’ and Sally Cook’s three Kings of Orient tangle with ‘six-laned traffic’.

Note. LUPO extends its apologies to conscientious rubric-readers, but in the interests of end-of-year eupepsia the judge decided to waive the confusing stipulation about eight lines per thought within the overall maximum of sixteen and give the cashiered competition-setter’s fee to the Sunset Home for Superannuated Scansion-Smoothers.

Below, then, in no particular order, and with thanks to all who sportingly took part, are the diverse festive frolics that managed to find their way down one of the intricately-flued chimneys at Lupo Towers.


Christmas is coming, and the pound is getting thinner.
Please send a tenner for Theresa’s Christmas dinner.
If you can’t spare a tenner, then a fiver will do.
If you can’t spare a fiver – well, who voted Brexit? You!

Brian Allgar

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There once was a fat man in red
Who rode his sleigh right overhead
    Dropping off splendid toys
    To all good girls and boys
And sprouts to the naughty instead!

Tracy Davidson

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Santa Claus
is a bloody nuisance because
he delegates all that buying-and-wrapping-of-presents fuss
to us.

Alanna Blake

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Dear Santa, as you fly above me
And down the chimney, fast as light,
How I hope that you will love me
Enough to make my Christmas bright.
All I need, a new computer
And possibly another router.

And then I’d like some inspiration
To write a gem of comedy
Or blazing wit, and concentration
So I can type it perfectly.
And maybe then, some recognition –
I’d like to win a competition!

Katie Mallett

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I long to be agile and slender.
I’ve tried every diet there is,
But my striving for sleekness is marred by a weakness
That renders me massive and miz.

I don’t have a passion for pizzas
Or chocolate or cheesecake or beer;
My extravagant size is the fault of mince pies −
I get chubbier year after year.

I know that I just can’t resist them.
I know I can never say No,
And I’m greedily grateful for each tasty plateful
That meets me wherever I go.

I’ve reached an important decision −
No point in my messing about.
Perhaps it sounds cruel but no presents this Yule,
Since squeezing down chimneys is OUT.

Joan Butler

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Festive Pigeons

This year
I’m going to put tracking devices
on every bottle of wine
and tin of biscuits
I take as a gift
and award prizes
to those that travel furthest
and those which make it home.

Stuart Blair

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The Reprobate's Christmas Wish

I was a good suburban lad; you were that quiet girl next door.
Now decades later, I'm a cad; and you're, my dear, a high class whore.
In days of tinsel, snow, and holly, we nibbled sugarplums and candy.
Now when I look at you, by golly, I must admit my thoughts turn randy.

Traditions of the yuletide season appealed to kids and turkey lovers;
But now they make a perfect reason for us to romp beneath the covers.
Yes, Christmas comes but once a year; in youth, we wished that it came sooner;
But now, whenever you are near, I'm ready for a simple nooner.

Douglas G. Brown

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The Wonderful World of Christmas

Each year around Christmas our movie selection engenders dissension and strife.
Life would be more wonderful without It’s A Wonderful Life.

Bruce McGuffin

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Higgledy piggledy,
I love my Christmas tree,
Save for the day that it
Says its goodbyes.

Evergreen needles are
Causing a clean-up
Of ominous size.

Mae Scanlan

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It only seems a month or so
since taking down the Christmas tree.
So tell me, where'd the last year go?
Is it the world or is it me?

D.A. Prince

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Sales Fever

I must go down to the sales again where the sharpened elbows fly
And all I ask is a warm coat and a hat to keep me dry
And a loud crowd on a cold night in a long line snaking
For a rare treat or a new suite, it’s all there for the taking.
I must go down to the sales again to a day of stress and strife
Where the kick and the pinch won't make me flinch from the bargain hunting life
And all I crave is a full store with wonders overflowing
And a wild rush as the crowds push for every bargain going.

Martin John

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Fowl’s Paradise

A turkey struts across the way
Its bold red wattles wobbling.
Strut on, poor bird, come Christmas Day
It won’t be you that’s gobbling.

Jo Scutch

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An Alternative Christmas Carol
(to the tune of the hymn
New every morning is the love’)

Awake! Awake! The day is here -
The one we sweat on every year,
When we all stuff ourselves like pigs
With ham and chook and glacé figs.

The kids will all be nuts by lunch
Given the crap they’ve found to munch,
And hark! The peevish undertone
Of great aunt Alma’s yuletide moan.

We’ve maxed our credit cards right out
And solvency now seems in doubt,
But what the hell! Let’s have a beer
And think about it all next year.

Helen Meikle