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Poem Sampler

Christmas Poems

Classic and contemporary poems for the holiday season.
Photo by DC Zwick.

This collection of poems and site features presents many Christmases: spiritual and secular, bleak and hopeful, individual and communal. W. S. Di PieroAlice Fulton, and Conrad Hilberry capture the feelings evoked by city streets and natural landscapes around the holidays. E. E. Cummings’ child speaks adoringly to a Christmas tree, while Chris Green’s adult reexamines the tree-chopping tradition. Sandra CastilloToi Derricotte, and Mary Jo Salter paint vignettes of Christmastime rituals of parents and children. Ange Mlinko and Devin Johnston offer less traditional December 25th activities—bathtub lobster cooking and California boat rides, respectively. Mike Chasar’s speaker receives a surprise gift from nature, and Norman Williams’ poem is an homage to artists who work without hope for material gain. After a selection of articles, and Yuletide broadsides and audio clips, we land on Poetry founder Harriet Monroe’s 1926 vision of Christmas as “a symbol, a recognition, a flower on the altar, a bow in passing.”


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

Poem Sampler

Christmas Poems

Classic and contemporary poems for the holiday season.

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