Christmas In Qatar

This poem by Calvin Trillin doesn't have much to do with food --

although there is a reference to reindeer cacciatore. We just like to

include rhyme from time to time to make the blog seem classy.

Christmas In Qatar


The shopping starts, and every store's a zoo

I'm frantic, too: I haven't got a clue

Of what to get for Dad, who's got no hobby,

Or why Aunt Jane, who's shaped like a kohlrabi,

Wants frilly sweater sets, or where I'll find

A tie my loudmouthed Uncle Jack won't mind.

A shopper's told it's vital he prevails:

Prosperity depends on Christmas sales.

"Can't stop to talk," I say. "No time. Can't halt.

Economy could fail. Would be my fault."


I'd like to spend next Christmas in Qatar,

Or someplace else that Santa won't find handy.

Qatar will do, although, Lord knows, it's sandy.

I need to get to someplace pretty far

I'd like to spend next Christmas in Qatar.


Young Cousin Ned, his presents on his knees,

Says Christmas wrappings are a waste of trees.

Dad's staring, vaguely puzzled, at his gift.

And Uncle Jack, to give us all a lift,

Now tells a Polish joke he heard at work.

So Ned calls Jack a bigot and a jerk.

Aunt Jane, who knows that's true, breaks down and cries.

Then Mom comes out to help, and burns the pies.

Of course, Jack hates the tie. He'll take it back.

That's fair, because I hate my Uncle Jack.


I'd like to spend next Christmas in Tibet,

Or any place where folks cannot remember

That there is something special in December.

Tibet's about as far as you can get.

I'd like to spend next Christmas in Tibet.


Mom's turkey is a patriotic riddle:

It's red and white, plus bluish in the middle.

The blue's because the oven heat's not stable.

The red's from ketchup Dad snuck to the table.

Dad says he loves the eyeglass stand from me--

Unless a sock rack's what it's meant to be.

"A free-range turkey's best," Ned says. "It's pure."

"This hippie stuff," Jack says, "I can't endure."

They say goodbye, thank God. It's been a strain.

At least Jack's tie has got a ketchup stain.


I'd like to spend next Christmas in Rangoon,

Or any place where Christmas is as noisy

As Buddhist holidays might be in Boise.

I long to hear Der Bingle smoothly croon,

'I'm dreaming of a Christmas in Rangoon"-

Or someplace you won't hear the Christmas story,

And reindeer's something eaten cacciatore.

I know things can't go on the way they are.

I'd like to spend next Christmas in Qatar.

--Lee Klein

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Lee Klein