Poem Sampler

Christmas Poems

Classic and contemporary poems for the holiday season.

by The Editors
Christmas Poems
Photo by DC Zwick.


Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” by Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

The Twelve Days of Christmas” by Unknown

For Christmas Day: Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” by Charles Wesley

from In Memoriam: “Ring out, wild bells...” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Three Kings” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Good King Wenceslas” by John Mason Neale

On the Morning of Christ's Nativity” by John Milton

Christ’s Nativity” by Henry Vaughan

Christmas Trees” by Robert Frost

Christmas Carol” by Sara Teasdale

In the bleak midwinter” by Christina Rossetti

“The Oxen” by Thomas Hardy

Mistletoe” by Walter de la Mare

[little tree]” by E.E. Cummings

The Magi” by William Butler Yeats

The Burning Babe” by Robert Southwell

“To Mrs K____, On Her Sending Me an English Christmas Plum-Cake at Paris” by Helen Maria Williams




Christmas, 1970” by Sandra M. Castillo

The Christmas Letter” by John N. Morris

Advent Calendar” by Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Conches on Christmas” by Mike Chasar

Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” by George Starbuck

Your Luck Is About To Change” by Susan Elizabeth Howe

Christmas Eve: My Mother Dressing” by Toi Derricotte

Christmas Mail” by Ted Kooser

Chicago and December” by W.S. Di Piero

Christmas Tree Lots” by Chris Green

Christmas Night” by Conrad Hilberry

Where Are The Stars Pristine” by Alice Fulton

Messiah (Christmas Portions)” by Mark Doty

The Golden Hinde” by Devin Johnston

On Christmas” by Marion Strobel

This is the Latest” by Ange Mlinko

Advent” by Mary Jo Salter

“Christmas Prelude” by Lisa Jarnot

“Before Christmas” by Landis Everson

“Advent” by Rae Armantrout

A Week Before Christmas” by Ioanna Carlsen

December 26” by Kenn Nesbitt

Taking Down the Tree” by Jane Kenyon

Download poems to hang on the fridge, wall, or tree.

Picture of a Nativity” by Geoffrey Hill [PDF]

Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” by George Starbuck [PDF]



Podcast: “Christmas Memories”: Poems by Ed Skoog and Wyatt Prunty.

Podcast: “Poems of Transcendance”: Spencer Reece celebrates Christmas with poems by George Herbert and James Merrill.

Podcast: “Poems to Fight Against the Dark”: Christmas poetry full of love and light.

Poem: “More Sonnets at Christmas” by Allen Tate

Originally Published: December 15, 2010


On December 15, 2010 at 1:29pm Greg wrote:
Very nice selection! I particularly like DiPiero and Johnston.

On December 22, 2010 at 9:53am John Moore wrote:
This is a lovely selection. I found Green's Christmas Tree Lots and Salter's Advent to be especially touching. And Monroe's short essay For Christmas has certainly held up well!

On December 22, 2010 at 10:31am Mark Cotter wrote:
What an excellent collection of poems etc..

The di Piero, Mlinko and Slater in particular
are wonderful and the HIll as a download
for the noticeboard is excellent.

It's at moments like this I realise why I
love the Poetry Foundation. (It's a pity we
don't have anything so excellent in the UK.)

On December 20, 2014 at 2:35pm Brian E. Wakeman wrote:
A great selection
Readers might like my reflections leading up to Christmas...

In his country,
  a King was a jealous tyrant
  issuing unjust and
  cruel policies,
  suppressing dissent,
  fearful of opposition,
  employing deceit.

In his town,
  soldiers were banging
  at doors, bursting in,
  and terrifying,
  stabbing, killing
  infants in their cradles,
  while fathers stood helpless.

In their district,
  families were driven by fear,
  traumatised, escaping
  across the border,
  refugees from violence,
  from the security of home
  from friends, to the unknown.

In our World,
  people are persecuted
  for their faith,
  their daughters
  stolen, sold as slaves
  by young muslim men
  seeking the 'right path'.

In my parish,
  there are broken families,
  parents unemployed,
  with reduced benefits,
  dependent on 'food banks'
  for hungry children.

In God's World,
  there is hope for wise men.
  The child seeks friends 
  who will continue
  his work for the Kingdom:
  'Good news for the poor',
  'Release for the oppressed'.

On December 19, 2015 at 12:08am Dr. Jeanne L. Smith wrote:
Thank you for Brian E. Wakeman's moving poem, "In His Country ... In His Town". Last year our family faced the horror of the Boko Haram kidnapping girls from our church's school in Nigeria, and this year we are witnessing the greatest number of refugees searching for asylum in world history. Your poem expresses the sorrow we feel at this troubled time in history.


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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