From E.B. White, 1952

I post or at least read this every year.

From this high midtown hall, undecked with boughs, unfortified with mistletoe, we send forth our tinselled 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 judgment, 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 for 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 the unloved, the misunderstood, the overweight. Joy to the authors of books whose titles begin with the word “How” (as though they knew!). Greetings to people with a ringing in their ears; greetings to growers of gourds, to shearers of sheep, and to makers of change in the lonely underground booths! 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 city streets; merry Christmas to people who save prairie chickens from extinction! Greetings of a purely mechanical sort to machines that think–plus a sprig 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 greetings 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! And last, we greet all skaters on small natural ponds at the edge of woods 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!

Merry Christmas back to you, E.B. Some of those points sadly must be made again, but the good things are here too.

4 thoughts on “From E.B. White, 1952

  1. How utterly, totally, unredeemingly anti-american! With all that happy-happy-joy-joy good-fskin’ cheer, when’s a body to do their part to support the president to support the truups, to ensure the iranian flying saucers are kept at bay to prevent them returning and doing another 9/11 on us?
    And when’s there some time to bomb canada to sure the ongoing future safety of our great nation, secure from threats canadian and domestic!
    > To captains of river boats on snowy mornings
    > we send an answering toot at this holiday time.
    How’s ’bout captains and pilots who crash container ships into a bridge pier when they’ve gotta “thread the needle”, getting their 130-foot-wide boat thru a 2100 foot wide gap underneath a bridge that’s been where it’s been form 70 years? Do we send them good cheer for dumping 58,000 gallons of toxic waste (aka: “bunker fuel”) into one of the most treasured habitats in the country?
    We gonna share the love with him?
    ‘Specially when the coasties warned him, loud and clear that “you’re headed into the bridge pier.”
    Love-love-joy-joy for him too?

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