By Gina Noe
Reading “The Night Before Christmas” has always been one of my favorite holiday traditions. In the poem the family has prepared for a visit from St. Nicholas with stockings hung by the chimney with care. The chimney must have been clean because Santa came down it with no trouble, just a little ashes and soot on his fur.
Things have changed over the past 240 years since the first poem was written. With permission of one of my Tennessee colleagues, Bonnie Hinds, University of TN Extension Healthy Homes Educator, I would like to share with you a slightly different version of how to prepare your home for the winter season.
The Healthy Home Before Christmas
‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the house,
While checking for safety, I tried not to grouse.
The holiday season scatters joy all around,
But for me I can’t rest ’till I’ve covered all ground.
The chimney sweep’s scheduled, our fireplace to clean,
So the logs can burn safely, with ambiance serene.
The furnace was serviced on October the first,
For of home unsafe issues, CO-two is the worst.
I seal my home’s cracks like a dervish each fall,
Knowing it keeps out the mousies, be they big ones or small.
I’ve chosen a corner for the massive blue spruce,
And I’ll anchor it safely, from pets on the loose.
Those cut trees catch fire at the drop of a hat,
And extension cords and twinkle lights just add to that.
I’ve changed every battery on each smoke alarm
And ruled out real candles, no matter their charm.
I’ll damp dust each surface, ensuring healthier air,
And I’ll HEPA all textiles, from draperies to chair.
With conviction I know true, with conviction I’ve said,
Dust mites won’t be lingering round yonder bed.
I’ve polished mama’s hand-me-down silver without VOCs,
As all of those chemicals cause asthmatics to wheeze.
The house smells so fresh, natural mint and some lemon —
A little pine, a little vanilla, and a whole lot of cinnamon.
I’m proud and I’m satisfied with the work that I’ve done,
Knowing the house is all ready for holiday fun.
I’ll relax with a smile when the family comes round‚ —
Be it ever so humble, my home’s safe and it’s sound.
I love all the days from Thanksgiving to Christmas
And believe in ole Santa, knowing his sleigh will not miss us.
May your days be so joyful and your nights so divine
And your house just as healthy as I’m making mine.
Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.