Since the first Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Poetry Contest was such a blast last year, and because I haven’t had a poetry contest in a long time—and because it’s a week until Christmas and I’m seconds away from launching into that last-minute panicked running around in circles thing that I do when I realize that I’ve forgotten four people on my list and two of them a) live with me and; b) are nigh impossible to shop for, which seriously cuts into my Poetry Research Time (yes, it exists, thank you)—I decided we should make it an annual thing.
So here we are.
The Basic Rules:
1. Take a standard December(ish) holiday* song, secular or sacred, and doggerel it up with your own words.
2. Post the results in the comments of this post, or send it to the e-mail address in the upper right hand corner there, if you prefer to remain anonymous—or if you can’t seem to keep it clean enough for a family blog even as borderline as this one (you know who you are).
If you do chose to e-mail it to me, and you’re a first timer, please put “Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus,” or a reasonable spelling thereof, in the subject heading, because I’m being spammed like whoa at the moment, and if I can’t tell, I’m not opening it.
3. Once your results are posted or received, your name will be placed into Sarah’s Lumpy Red Felt Hat of Win.** You can offer as many poems as you like and bribery is, as always, enthusiastically encouraged, but your name is still only going in once.
4. Deadline is December 22nd at midnight CST—that’s Chicago time, if it helps.
5. If your name is selected out of the Lumpy Red Felt Hat of Win by a small child of the household, you will win a $25 online gift card to Powell’s.
6. The winner will be announced on December 23rd, as I fully intend to take the next two days off from the blog, if I can fend off the Internet Withdrawal Spiders.
Sounds like a pretty good deal, yeah? I’ll bet a few of you have already chosen your song, too.
But wait—there’s more!
As a special Chrishanukwanzmadanfestivus Gift to you, I’m adding two extra rules:
First Extra Rule:
You have to use “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a general format.
Though you may use any vaguely winter holiday you like.
To preserve sanity, please just post from the last day, like so:***
On the last day of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me:
8 times the presents
7 bowls of cold borscht
6 loaded dreidels
5 bags of Gelt
4 slabs of brisket
3 pans of Kugel
2 packs of menorah candles
and a latke as big as my head
On the whatever day of Festivus, my person gave to me
Six miracles of secular origin
Five grievance hours
Four feats of strength
Three tins’less poles
Two slices o’ meatloaf
And a forty-eight hour Seinfeld marathon
You know what? You don’t even have to use a holiday—just the format:
On my twelfth day at the library, my patrons asked of me:
12 Computers Running
11 Tissues for Wiping
10 Novels for Reading
9 Songs for Dancing
8 Works of Tolkein
7 Cheat Codes for Winning
6 Quotes and Sayings
5 Stupid Things
4 Spelling Words
3 Working Pens
and the Gentlemen’s Restroom Key
But wait—there’s more!
The Second Extra Rule
You must include a Fifth Day, and make that line beltable.
Because otherwise, there’s no point in the first extra rule, amiright?
If you have any questions, put ’em below and I’ll make up some answers.
Contest starts now.
Go forth and doggerel!
EDITED TO ADD:
Please note an addendum to the First Extra Rule, to be known as The Indy Clause:
Instead of using “The Twelve Days” format, you may choose instead to write a poem explaining how much you hate Christmas Songs and Why.
It still has to be at least five lines, and you still have to be able to belt out one of the lines—with vicious sarcasm, if need be.
*And thanks so much, lunar calendar, for making Hanukkah a last-minute, candle-scrambling surprise this year . . . maybe it’s my ingrained Episcopalianism rearing its inconvenient dignity again, but I just don’t think glittery birthday candles belong in the menorah my grandparents brought me from Israel. There. I said it.
**Let us have a moment of silence for the Pink Cowgirl Hat of Win, which provided us with poetry winners for several years, despite causal abuse and frequent pancaking, before being irrevocably shredded during the Great Upheaval of Bedrooms this Summer. Thank you, Pink Cowgirl Hat of Win . . . we shall ne’er forget thee.
***Except better, because there’s a difference between being a lover of poetry and a poet, and I’m standing knee deep in it.