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Zoe’s Christmas Eve

December 24, 2014


NOTE:  After writing and posting last week my five-page short story “The Christmas Carriage” (which I do hope you have read or will read), I decided that on this Christmas Eve, I would share with you a poem which I wrote in November of 1989.  At that time, the original title of this poem was “Chelsea’s Christmas Eve”–named in honor of my precious Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was white with cinnamon-colored spots.


In 1991, when my first Leader Dog Keller and I were working at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Center for Special Needs (Visually Impaired Persons’ Program), I changed the title of this poem to “Keller’s Christmas Eve” to honor my beautiful golden retriever.  Not only did I share the poem “Keller’s Christmas Eve” with my students, but I also included copies of the poem with my Christmas cards that holiday season.


Later when I returned to teaching English in a traditional classroom at Milwaukee Area Technical College with my second Leader Dog Heather at my side, I once again changed the title of the poem to “Heather’s Christmas Eve.”  I used this version of the poem as a sample for my students when we were writing poetry for the “Literary Gift Exchange” or for “Poetry at the Podium” at the end of the semester for an oral presentation.


For the last two of twenty years of my teaching at the technical college, my third Leader Dog Zoe was at my side.  Since this Black Labrador/golden retriever mix is still with me during these “retirement” years, she now wants her turn.  Thus, tonight I will share with you “Zoe’s Christmas Eve.”  Throughout the title changes of this poem, only two words in the text of the poem have changed.


How amazed I am to realize that I wrote this poem twenty-five years ago!  A quarter of a century ago, the lines of this poem came extraordinarily fast to my mind and paper.  This poem was not one I mulled over for a few days, a week, a month, or even a couple of years–the totality of this poem burst forth and remains one of my favorite poems which I have created.


So, on this Christmas Eve of 2014, and on the silver anniversary of my poem “Chelsea’s Christmas Eve,” I merrily present to you …



Zoe’s Christmas Eve


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



My gift to you is a story to share.

From my telling, to your telling,

it will go everywhere.

Like season’s greetings, good cheer, and a smile,

Christmas hope, and warm wishes—

this story should last for a while.


Now, to the point of this tiny tale!

Dear Rudolf entered with a loud ka-choo!

Instead of red, his nose was purple and blue.

Santa was startled, but asked with dismay:

“What in the world happened to you today?”


The story is simple:  a flu bug did bite—

not just Rudy’s nose, but Santa’s whole flight!

Two little elves made the diagnosis complete.

Dasher and Dancer lay down in defeat:

Not even they could fight off that nasty flu bug.

Prancer and Vixen (you guessed it) sacked out on a rug.

Comet and Cupid needed Mrs. Claus.

Donner and Blitzen took a moment to pause

to realize it was Rudolf’s flu they all had.

Let me tell you, the situation was bad.


“A solution!  A solution to this problem, we need.”

As he patted poor Rudolf’s head, Santa wondered:

“Who will take the lead?

After all of these years, my reindeer deserve some sick leave;

but other guides for my sleigh—I cannot perceive!”


Then, Mrs. Claus wiped her glasses and said:

“The answer ought to come right off the top of your head!

You know that elf Louie has one special dog

that always helps guide him through snow, sun, and fog.

That golden retriever will show you the way:

that guide dog named Zoe will fly Christmas Day!”


“Oh!  Mrs. Claus, you are absolutely right.

Now, I can get ready for a long Christmas Night.”


“Oh, Santa, I know you will be safe with Zoe as your lead.”


Rudolf and the other reindeer nodded and agreed.


So, on that Christmas Night, as Santa flew out of sight,

he exclaimed:  “Merry Christmas!  My wish is peace worldwide,

and may God bless each and every dog guide!”



Wishing you the magic and wonder of Christmas Eve and a most Merry Christmas!

Alice and Zoe


December 24, 2014, Wednesday





From → Uncategorized

  1. May the dog treats fill Zoey’s stockings, and may the two of you ring in the New Year with a happiness that carries you through 2015.

    Best always,


  2. Very cute. Merry Christmas!


  3. What a special poem to honor your three amazing Leader Dogs and your beloved Chelsea, Alice! Santa should be so lucky as to have any one of your dogs lead his sleigh! This poem will never grow old.
    Love, Mary

  4. This poem never grows old! I love every version!

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