Christmas and New Year’s Poems: 12 Verses for the Season

Christmas and New Year’s Poems: 12 Verses for the Season blog header

Christmas is drawing nearer; if we listen very closely, we can hear the bells jingling on Santa’s sleigh! Like other celebrations and holidays this year, Christmas will be a quieter occasion for many, but that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace the spirit of the season. From twinkling lights and pretty packages to delicious baked goods and cups of cheer to time with family and friends (albeit masked and socially distanced!) to reflection back on this singular year…we hope you’re able to make some happy memories this Christmas. To add a literary dash to your holiday season, Bas Bleu’s editors have collected twelve of our favorite Christmas and New Year’s poems. (To read each poem in full, click on the title or image.)

Look there at the star!
I, among the least,
Will arise and take
A journey to the East.
But what shall I bring
As a present for the King?
What shall I bring to the Manger?
I will bring a song,
A song that I will sing,
In the Manger.

Watch out for my flocks,
Do not let them stray.
I am going on a journey
Far, far away.
But what shall I bring
As a present for the Child?
What shall I bring to the Manger?
I will bring a lamb,
Gentle, meek, and mild,
A lamb for the Child
In the Manger.

I’m just a shepherd boy,
Very poor I am—–
But I know there is
A King in Bethlehem.
What shall I bring
As a present just for Him?
What shall I bring to the Manger?
I will bring my heart
And give my heart to Him.
I will bring my heart
To the Manger. –“Shepherd’s Song at Christmas,” Langston Hughes

At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled shows;
But like of each thing that in season grows. – from Love’s Labour’s Lost, William Shakespeare

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart. —“In the bleak midwinter,” Christina Rossetti

Christmas.
The bell of the eve,
It’s grateful. –Mitsuhashi Takajo

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as could be,
I thought I’d keep it as a pet,
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas,
And a pillow for its head,
Then last night it ran away,
But first—it wet the bed! —“Snowball,” by Shel Silverstein

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year. —“The Year,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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28 thoughts on “Christmas and New Year’s Poems: 12 Verses for the Season

  1. What a beautiful selection of poems! I’ve sung Rosetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter,” many times but reading it here multiplied the beauty. Thank you for a grand selection.

  2. I love Poetry and these poems blessed my heart today and thinking of this past “black” year. Thank you so much! Merry Christmas.

  3. These woke me this morning with a smile! Can you please tell me,finally,
    What “auld lang syne” translates to?
    Joan

    • As we understand it, Joan, “auld lang syne” translates literally to “old long since” and means something along the lines of “times gone by.”

  4. thanks so much, I am a huge Langston Hughes lover. Used to see his Black Nativity every year put on by a Bridgeport CT church. Simply amazing. Merry Christmas to you all,

  5. Thank you so much for these seasonal offerings of poetry. You always have something beautiful that I have never seen before and that delights my soul. Please continue.

  6. My fourth graders loved the Shel Silverstein, “Snowball”. We virtually enjoyed it. Shel always makes them laugh, me too!

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