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Welcome to our sixteenth annual Christmas at the BAR-D!

We keep Christmas throughout the season, with continual additions of news, poetry, songs, and more. 

Along with the poetry, songs and more (newest poetry and songs here) we post holiday news and features below.

Christmas poem and song submissions are welcome through December 18, 2015. Selected poems will be posted below, throughout the season.


The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Eight is a 2-disc collection of the best classic and contemporary Christmas cowboy poetry.

Find information about each of our collections of classic and contemporary cowboy poetry here.

There are also special offers for bundles, including a deeply discounted price for available CDs (Volumes One and Two are sold out):


 The perfect gifts: The BAR-D Roundup CDs



A Year-end Message

An urgent challenge donation ... your help is needed, now.

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Your support is vital to the existence of CowboyPoetry.com and the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry.

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Christmas/Winter Art Spur

Poetry, Songs, Stories, Links and More, below 

Christmas News and More 

Western Christmas Books and Music (separate page)   

Find holiday events on our Events calendar


Christmas/Winter Art Spur


"The Belated Traveler" by Frederic Remington

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words...we know many that are worthy of a poem or a song. In Art Spur, we invite poets and songwriters to let selections of Western art inspire their poetry and songs.

Our forty-second piece offered to "spur" the imagination—a special Winter/Christmas Art Spur—is "The Belated Traveler," a painting by the great artist of the American West, Frederic Remington (1861-1909).

Remington wrote something about art that can be applied to poetry, "Big art is a process of elimination. Cut down and outdo your hardest work outside the picture, and let your audience take away something to think aboutto imagine."

Remington created a great range of art, in both medium and subject. Starting around 1900, he began to paint a series of paintings about the "darkness," which included "The Belated Traveler." The National Gallery of Art has an engaging presentation, "The Color of Night." They comment, "Before his premature death in 1909 at age forty-eight, Remington completed more than seventy paintings in which he explored the technical and aesthetic difficulties of painting darkness."

In 1998, "The Belated Traveler" sold for $2,477,500
"The Belated Traveler" is on loan to the Amon Carter Museum for its "Tales from the American West: The Rees-Jones Collection" exhibit.

See our feature on Owen Wister's "Evolution of the Cow-Puncher" for one of Remington's best-known paintings.

Find more about Remington at fredericremington.org.

Submissions were welcome from all through Sunday, December 20, 2015. Find selected poems here.

Find past Winter/Christmas Art Spur subjects here.


Christmas News and More

See the Events calendar for Christmas events.

Your Christmas news is welcome; email us


  Two Christmas treats from Baxter Black:

"Cowboy Camp Christmas," (poem) by Baxter Black; the latest column at BaxterBlack.com 

"The Little Christmas Cowboy," by Baxter Black (audio) Western Horseman, December 21, 2015


  The Library of Congress offers an interesting article with music links, "Songs for Christmas and the New Year Collected by Alan Lomax," by Stephanie Hall, in a December 17, 2015 post on Folklife Today.


     New Mexico cowboy, songer-songerwriter, poet, and photographer Mike Moutoux is featured in the December, 2015 Western Horseman (westernhorseman.com), which also includes his poem, "Christmas at the Line Shack."

Mike Moutoux performs his poem, "Ranch Horses," in a video here at Western Horseman online.

Check out some of Mike's photographs in the current Picture the West and find more about him here at the BAR-D and at MikeMoutoux.com.



   The latest edition of Jeri Dobrowski's Cowboy Jam Session is titled, "Christmas gift ideas: Part 2 (or a Charlie Russell Christmas," the second of an annual two-part series with great Western book and recording gift ideas. The column recommends and reviews Charlie Russell: The Cowboy Years, a book by Jane Lambert; Baxter Black's double CD and DVD Baxter Black Amongst Friends; and the book, The Sons of Charlie Russell: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Cowboy Artists of America by Byron Price.

Read the latest edition of Cowboy Jam Session here.

The previous edition, "Christmas gift ideas: Part 1,"  introduces and reviews Janice Gilbertson's novel, Summer of '58; Bob Petermann's CD, Dance in the Round Corral; and Shannon and Kent Rollins' best-selling cookbook, A Taste of Cowboy.



  Rick Huff reviews three new Christmas releases in his latest Best of the West Reviews:

Colorado Cowboy Christmas by Allen & Jill Kirkham
Buffalo Bill’s Holiday Roundup by Buffalo Bill (Boycott) & Dr. Jo
Merry Christmas from Our House To Yours by The High Country Cowboys



  Western radio celebrates Christmas:

Jim and Andy Nelson's Clear Out West (C.O.W) radio features Christmas cowboy music and poetry throughout the season, with the special Christmas show the week of December 20, 2015.

 Totsie Slover's Real West from the Old West; Deming Radio features Christmas cowboy music and poetry throughout the season
, with all-Christmas the week of December 23, 2015.

Charley Engel's Flying SL Ranch Radio from Spalding Labs  
streams Christmas music and poetry throughout the season.

His Calling All Cowboys show will have its annual all-Christmas show on Wednesday December 23, 2015. 6PM (Pacific) and Sunday December 27 at 4PM at 88.9 FM KPOV, streaming from pov.org  at those same times. The show will also stream 24/7 from here December 23-30, 2015.

Jarle Kvale's Back at the Ranch: Back at the Ranch podcast features
Christmas music and poetry throughout the season.

  Bob O'Donnell's The Western Jukebox 2 features Christmas music and cowboy poetry throughout the season, with all-Christmas programming on December 24, 2015, from 4-6 PM, Central.


Waynetta Ausmus' Waynetta's Roundup; Waynetta's Roundup features
Christmas music and poetry throughout the season.

Hugh McLennan's Spirit of the West; Hugh-McLennan.com features
Christmas music and poetry throughout the season.

  Graham Lees' Western Hour; Western Hour features
Christmas music and poetry throughout the season.

  Judy James' Western Heritage Radio and Cowboy Jubilee, JudyJamesradio.com, features Christmas music and poetry throughout the season.



Poems, Songs, Stories and More


New poems and songs along with selected classic and contemporary favorites
from past years' celebrations and audio and video links to poetry and music,
 with posts throughout the season.

Find more on Facebook:

Find a complete list with links to all the holiday poems posted starting in 2000 here.

Newest on Page two.

"Christmas Waltz" by Buck Ramsey

"Christmas Thoughts" by Slim McNaught

"A Journey in Search of Christmas" by Owen Wister

"Santa Must Be a Cowboy" by Robert Dennis

"In the Bleak Midwinter" (audio link) by Wylie Gustafson

"Santa Must be a Shoer" by Andy Nelson

"Drylanders Christmas" by S. Omar Barker

Stephanie Davis (video link) sings "Winter Wonderland"

"The Cowboy's Christmas Ball"  by Larry Chittenden

"Prairie Silent Night" by Curly Musgrave

"The Perfect Gift" by Yvonne Hollenbeck

"Line-Camp Christmas" by S. Omar Barker

Page two:

"Night Before Christmas on the West Texas Plains" by Waddie Mitchell

"Christmas on the Trail" by Hal Swift

"Merry Christmas" by Bruce Kiskaddon

"Scotty’s Christmas Tree" by Tom Swearingen

"The Christmas Present" by William Hickman

"The Christmas Trail" by Charles Badger Clark, Jr.

"A Rusty Surprise" by Jean Mathisen Haugen

"Habits and Traditions" by Jack Burdette

"Papa Noel Visits Mi Casa" by Floyd Beard

"Remembering Dave at Christmas" by C.W. (Charles) Bell

Art Spur:
"A Feast of Memories" by Marleen Bussma of Utah
"The Prodigal Christmas Gift" by James Cathey of Texas
"The Visit" by Michael Henley of Arkansas
"The Christmas Stranger" by Michelle Turner of Iowa
"The Visit" by Tom Swearingen of Oregon
"Gifts" by Jeff Campbell of Texas
"An Angel Unaware?" by Jean Mathisen Haugen of Wyoming
"Belated Traveler" by Floyd Traynor of Texas

"The Old Time Christmas" by Bruce Kiskaddon




Contemporary classic: from the archives

It is our Christmas tradition to launch Christmas at the BAR-D with the modern classic, Christmas Waltz, by Buck Ramsey (1938-1998). A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Buck Ramsey has been called "the spiritual leader of modern cowboy poetry."

We're honored to have Buck Ramsey's recording on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 8

Find a sample of the song here at Smithsonian Folkways, where it is included in  Hittin' the Trail," a collection of his music and poetry. The song, recorded in 1995 is introduced:

Buck's "Christmas Waltz" became an instant cowboy Christmas classic. Peregrine Smith Books published it in a small book format in 1996. Buck grew up in a singing family, and his sisters were well known for their gospel singing. We can hear the Primitive Baptist shaped note singing roots of the Ramsey family as Buck is joined on this beautiful recording by his sisters Wanda, Ellen, and Sylvia, and his younger brother Charles.

Find the entire liner notes here at the Smithsonian Folkways site.

photo of Buck Ramsey by Scott Braucher

Christmas Waltz

The winter is here and the old year is passing,
The sun in its circle winds far in the south.
It's time to bring cheer to a cold, snowbound cow camp,
It's Christmas tree time of the year for the house.

Go ride to the cedar break rim of a canyon,
Down by where the river takes creek water clear,
And saddle-sleigh home us a fine shapely evergreen
Picked out while prowling the pasture this year.

While Fair strings the berries and popcorn and whatnots
And Ty braids the wreaths out of leather and vines,
Old Dunder, he whittles and whistles old carols
And fills them with stories of fine olden times.

He talks of a baby boy born in a cow shed,
All swaddled in tatters and laid in a trough,
Who, growing up, gave away all he could gather
And taught us that what is not given is lost.

It's morning of Christmas and long before dawning
The camp hands are risen to ready the feast.
But with the fires glowing they don warm apparel
And go out to gaze on the Star of the East.

They cobbler the plums they put up back in summer,
They bake a wild turkey and roast backstrap deer,
They dollop the sourdough for rising and baking,
And pass each to each now the brown jug of cheer.

The dinner is done and they pass out the presents,
Their three each they open with handshakes and hugs,
Then Ty gets his guitar and Fred gets his fiddle
While Dunder and Fair laugh and roll back the rugs.

The tunes that they play melt the chill from the winter
As Dunder and Fair waltz and two-step along.
They play, sing and dance till the next morning's dawning
Then all of the their slumbers are filled with this song.

© 1996, Buck Ramsey, All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

Find more about Buck Ramsey in our feature here.



Contemporary: from the archives

  This poem by Slim McNaught—South Dakota poet and leather artist—is also included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 8. It is featured on our Facebook page here.

Find more about Slim and his books and recordings here at the BAR-D and at slimscustomleather.com. He'll be making his first invited appearance at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in January.

A Christmas Thought

When northern lights are flashin' bright
          with shades of every hue
And fresh snow cover on the range
          makes this whole world look new.
While ridin' home beneath these lights,
          lettin' horse just pick his way,
You scan this world that looks so clean
          and think of Christmas Day.

Now, you marvel how the world is touched
          by nature's evenin' light
Each limb that's piled up high with snow,
         each post that's capped with white.
And for the Christmas times a' comin'
        you smile and wish from here
That friends and family and folks afar
        have a Christmas filled with cheer.

Then when you reach the home corral
        with comforts waitin' there,
You smell the smells of this, your world,
        while horse enjoys his fare.
Your table waits with food and warmth
        and family gives life reason,
Then from your heart comes many thanks
        for another Christmas season.

© 2006, Slim McNaught
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Classic: from the archives

journeywister.JPG (11039 bytes)  Owen Wister (1860-1938) has a good Christmas story, A Journey in Search of Christmas:

In the old days, the happy days, when Wyoming was a Territory with a future instead of a State with a past, and the unfenced cattle grazed upon her ranges by prosperous thousands, young Lin McLean awaked early one morning in cow camp, and lay staring out of his blankets upon the world. He would be twenty-two this week. He was the youngest cow-puncher in camp. But because he could break wild horses, he was earning more dollars a month than any man there, except one. The cook was a more indispensable person. None save the cook was up, so far, this morning. Lin's brother punchers slept about him on the ground, some motionless, some shifting their prone heads to burrow deeper from the increasing day. The busy work of spring was over, that of the fall, or beef round-up, not yet come. It was mid-July, a lull for these hard-riding bachelors of the saddle, and many unspent dollars stood to Mr. McLean's credit on the ranch books.

We posted the take as a serial for a past Christmas at the BAR-D. The story of "A Journey in Search of Christmas" is a part of Lin McLean. It was published by Harper & Brothers as a separate book in 1904, illustrated by Frederic Remington. The story of Lin McLean was made into a film in 1918, "A Woman's Fool," directed by John Ford and starring Harry Carey. The film is "presumed lost."

Read the illustrated story here.


New in 2015

  South Dakota rancher, saddlemaker, poet, and singer/songwriter Robert Dennis is known for annual Christmas pieces. This one is a song, and you can see Robert perform it here on his Facebook page.

Find more about Robert here at the BAR-D and at his blog, dennisranch.com.

Santa Must Be a Cowboy

Santa must be a cowboy, to wrangle all them deer
Only get caught and harness’d, just one day a year
He hooks ‘em up, lines ‘em out, goes streakin’ thru’ the sky
Only a cowboy’ud do that, drive reindeer that can fly

Santa must be a cowboy, they claim he’s jolly an’ fat
Wears big tall boots, a bright red suit, I know cowboy’s like that
He makes it ‘round this big old world, in just a single night
Only a cowboy‘ud try that, without usin’ a flashlight

Santa must be a cowboy and a crazy one to boot
Slippin’ down red hot chimneys to deliver all that loot
He delivers toys to children, smiles and fun and glee
He’s always where he’s needed, sounds like a cowboy to me

Yes, Santa must be a cowboy to do all that hard work
Goin’ out on a winters night where frostbite’s just a perk
No cab on his big red sled, deer eat lots of hay
So he’s sniffin’ reindeer exhaust all night and doin’ it for short pay

Santa must be a cowboy, to wrangle all them deer
Only get caught and harness’d, just one day a year
He hooks ‘em up, lines ‘em out, goes streakin’ thru’ the sky
Only a cowboy’ud do that, drive reindeer that can fly

© 2015, Robert Dennis 
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's permission.


Elsewhere on the Web: Audio

  Wylie Gustafson of Wylie & the Wild West has a beautiful rendition of "In the Bleak Midwinter" here on YouTube. It's from his Christmas for Cowboys album.

Find more about Wylie & the Wild West here at the BAR-D and at wyliewebsite.com



Contemporary: from the archives

  Award winning poet, humorist, and Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio host Andy Nelson comes from a family of farriers. His award-winning book, Ridin' with Jim, includes his poems and stories as well as stories about and by his farrier father. His new Christmas poem seems a natural, Santa Must Be a Shoer:

They say he's a jolly ol' elf,
you'll never find one truer;
But the way I see it myself,
Santa must be a shoer.

Someone's got to trim the reindeer,
and sharp-shoe those little hoofs;
As they dash through the wild frontier,
and land on ice-covered roofs.

He recites the poem on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 8 and on his CD, How I Taught Bruno a Lesson.

Find the entire poem here at the BAR-D, where there's more about Andy Nelson and more of his poetry.

photo of Andy Nelson by Jeri L. Dobrowski


Classic: from the archives

Terry Nash recites S. Omar Barker's (1895-1985) "Drylander's Christmas" on our 2-CD collection of classic and modern Christmas cowboy poetry, The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 8:

Drylander's Christmas

Four days before Christmas out on the BAR U
A case of the lonesomes had hit the whole crew.
Though mostly young fellers who'd drifted out West
Plumb off from their homefolks, it must be confessed
That comin' on Christmas, them lonesomes took hold.
As the dadblasted weather turned stormy and cold.
With the trail snowed too deep for a town gallyhoot.
Their chances for Christmas cheer weren't worth a hoot.
There's be stock to tend to -- some strays like as not --
And not much for Christmas but beans in a pot.

Now family homes in them days long ago
Was scattered plum thin as old-timer's know
The feelin's 'twixt nesters and range-ridin' men
Was often plumb hostile.  So here it had been
Till just before Christmas homesteader O'Toole
Took a notion that he'd put a boy on a mule
To spread the good word that on Christmas Eve night
His house would be warm, and with candles alight,
His missus and him would both welcome that crew
Of snowbounded cowhands out on the BAR U.
They said there'd be fixin's and maybe a chance
There might be some music and maybe some dance.

So the cowboys rode over in spite of the snow,
With the mercury hangin' about ten below.
Another farm family from off up the draw
Showed up in a wagon, not just pa and ma
But also three daughters.  Believe it or not,
On that Christmas Eve all feuds was forgot!
And in that snug house on the drylander's claim
Five frostbitten cowhands were sure glad they came.
For the best Merry Christmas, them buckaroos found,
Is always the one where there's women around;
And if you ain't guessed it, 'twas Missus O'Toole
Who'd made the old man put that boy on a mule!

© S. Omar Barker, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker, further reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.

Find more about S. Omar Barker here; more about Terry Nash here.

Elsewhere on the web:

  Top singer and songwriter Stephanie Davis performs "Winter Wonderland" in a video here.



  William Lawrence "Larry" Chittenden (1862-1934) is best known for his 1890 poem, "The Cowboy's Christmas Ball," which was included in his 1893 book, Ranch Verses. The poem was inspired by a cowboy Christmas dance he attended in Anson, Texas and the event he made famous still takes place annually.

Texas poet Jim Cathey gives a great recitation of the poem on the Christmas edition of The BAR-D Roundup.

The Cowboys' Christmas Ball 
To the Ranchmen of Texas

'Way out in Western Texas, where the Clear Fork's waters flow,
Where the cattle are "a-browzin'," an' the Spanish ponies grow;
Where the Northers "come a-whistlin'" from beyond the Neutral Strip;
And the prairie dogs are sneezin', as if they had "The Grip";
Where the cayotes come a-howlin' 'round the ranches after dark,
And the mocking-birds are singin' to the lovely "medder lark";
Where the 'possum and the badger, and rattlesnakes abound,
And the monstrous stars are winkin' o'er a wilderness profound;
Where lonesome, tawny prairies melt into airy streams,
While the Double Mountains slumber, in heavenly kinds of dreams;
Where the antelope is grazin' and the lonely plovers call—
It was there that I attended "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

The town was Anson City, old Jones's county seat,
Where they raised Polled Angus cattle, and waving whiskered wheat;
Where the air is soft and "bammy," an' dry an' full of health,
And the prairies is explodin' with agricultural wealth;
Where they print the Texas Western, that Hec. McCann supplies
With news and yarns and stories, uv most amazin' size;
Where Frank Smith "pulls the badger," on knowin' tenderfeet,
And Democracy's triumphant, and might hard to beat;
Where lives that good old hunter, John Milsap, from Lamar,
Who "used to be the Sheriff, back East, in Paris sah!"
'T was there, I say, at Anson with the lovely "widder Wall,"
That I went to that reception, "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

The boys had left the ranches and come to town in piles;
The ladies—"kinder scatterin'"—had gathered in for miles.
And yet the place was crowded, as I remember well,
'T was got for the occasion, at "The Morning Star Hotel."
The music was a fiddle an' a lively tambourine,
And a "viol came imported," by the stage from Abilene.
The room was togged out gorgeous-with mistletoe and shawls,
And candles flickered frescoes, around the airy walls.
The "wimmin folks" looked lovely-the boys looked kinder treed,
Till their leader commenced yellin': "Whoa! fellers, let's stampede,"
And the music started sighin', an' awailin' through the hall
As a kind of introduction to "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

The leader was a feller that came from Swenson's ranch,
They called him "Windy Billy," from "little Deadman's Branch."
His rig was "kinder keerless," big spurs and high-heeled boots;
He had the reputation that comes when "fellers shoots."
His voice was like a bugle upon the mountain's height;
His feet were animated an' a mighty, movin' sight,
When he commenced to holler, "Neow, fellers stake your pen!
"Lock horns ter all them heifers, an' russle 'em like men.
"Saloot yer lovely critters; neow swing an' let 'em go,
"Climb the grape vine 'round 'em—all hands do-ce-do!
"You Mavericks, jine the round-up- Jest skip her waterfall,"
Huh!  hit wuz gettin' happy, "The Cowboys' Christmas Ball!"

The boys were tolerable skittish, the ladies powerful neat,
That old bass viol's music just got there with both feet!
That wailin', frisky fiddle, I never shall forget;
And Windy kept a-singin'—I think I hear him yet—
"Oh Xes, chase yer squirrels, an' cut 'em to one side;
"Spur Treadwell to the centre, with Cross P Charley's bride;
"Doc. Hollis down the middle, an' twine the ladies' chain;
"Varn Andrews pen the fillies in big T Diamond's train.
"All pull yer freight together, neow swallow fork an' change;
"'Big Boston,' lead the trail herd, through little Pitchfork's range.
"Purr 'round yer gentle pussies, neow rope 'em! Balance all!"
Huh!  hit wuz gettin' active—"The Cowboys' Christmas Ball!"

The dust riz fast an' furious; we all jes' galloped 'round,
Till the scenery got so giddy that T Bar Dick was downed.
We buckled to our partners, an' told 'em to hold on,
Then shook our hoofs like lightning, until the early dawn.
Don't tell me 'bout cotillions, or germans. No sire 'ee!
That whirl at Anson City just takes the cake with me.
I'm sick of lazy shufflin's, of them I've had my fill,
Give me a frontier break-down, backed up by Windy Bill.
McAllister ain't nowhar: when Windy leads the show,
I've seen 'em both in harness, and so I sorter know—
Oh, Bill, I sha'n't forget yer, and I'll oftentimes recall,
That lively gaited sworray—"The Cowboys' Christmas Ball."

Read more about the poem's history and the ball at the Handbook of Texas Online.

Find more about Larry Chittenden and more poetry in our feature here.

A YouTube video here features Michael Martin Murphey and Suzy Bogguss singing "A Cowboy's Christmas Ball."



Contemporary: from the archives

   Songwriter, poet, and fine human being Curly Musgrave (1949-2009) wrote many memorable pieces, including this one, which we're honored to have on the Christmas edition of The BAR-D Roundup:

Prairie Silent Night

It's a silent night out on the prairie 
All the cattle are millin' around
There's a bright prairie star
Oe'r the mountains afar
In the wind there's a heavenly sound

And I know that some nightherder long years ago
Followed that star to the Savior's abode
It's a silent night out on the prairie
In the stars I see Heaven's decree
On this cold Christmas night
I am warmed in his light
Now that babe's ridin' nightherd with me

(Poem inserted into song)
It's Christmas Eve and I'd have bet my best spurs
I wouldn't be chasin' cows tonight
But at least there's a full prairie moon lights my way
And that star in the East's sure a sight
It's so cold I'm nearly froze to this saddle
But the boys fed an' so I let 'em go
To wherever a Christmas might take 'em
So I'm headin' these strays all alone 

An' feelin' a bit of self pity out here
Not home by the fire and the tree
Amidst all the gifts and the laughter
That this season's come to be
But if these cows had stayed put
I'd have missed that bright star
Can't help wondrin' if it's not the same
That signaled the season's gift given to all
Who would take on that sweet baby's name

Now the night's cold no longer surrounds me
As I remember I'm no longer alone
An' these cows, well they move a mite faster
With a glimpse of the warm lights of home
Guess I just need remindin'
Of the gifts that are mine from above
My kids, my good wife and this cowboy life
And the gift of that sweet baby's love

(End of Song)
And I know that some nightherder long years ago
Followed that star to the Savior's abode
It's a silent night out on the prairie
In the stars I see Heaven's decree
On this cold Christmas night
I am warmed in his light
Now that babe's ridin' nightherd with me

Words and Music by Curly Musgrave, recorded on Cowboy True

© 2003, Curly J Productions All Rights Reserved
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the permission.

 Find more about Curly Musgrave in our feature here and visit his memorial web site here.



Contemporary: from the archives

Popular South Dakota poet Yvonne Hollenbeck has many Christmas poems, some collected in her book, Christmas on the Range. Find more about her and more of her poetry here and visit her web site, www.yvonnehollenbeck.com.

The Perfect Gift

Not everyone's Christmas is merry,
    not everyone's heart's filled with cheer;
perhaps it's because they are missing
    a loved one not with them this year.

It might be a soldier in service,
  or death might have darkened their door;
there's reasons why some folks are lonely
   and something we should not ignore.

It must be real hard to be lonely,
   while others are happy and gay;
while we see the blue skies and sunshine,
   their skies are cloudy and gray.

And it's easy with our lives so busy
   to not take the time to be there
to help lift a burden for others
    and let them know somebody cares.

If you want to do something this Christmas
   to help those who might be alone,
take time from your parties and shopping
   and give them a call on the phone.

Better yet, pay 'em a visit
    to let 'em  know somebody cares;
for none of us know of tomorrow
    when we may have crosses to bear.   

So this year when you go out shopping
    be sure that you add to your list
a name of someone that's lonely
     and give them the best kind of gift.
You won't have to spend any money,
     for we know that the best gifts are free.
Take time for the lonely this Christmas,
     it's just how God meant it to be.

© 2002, Yvonne Hollenbeck
This poem may not be reprinted or reported with out permission.




Classic, from the archives:

  Another good Christmas poem by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985):

Line-Camp Christmas
Some eighty miles from nowhere, in a line-camp all alone,
A cowboy set on Christmas Eve without no telephone,
No radio, no TV set, no autos passin' by,
No sound but wind a-moanin' and lonesome coyote's cry
To wish him Merry Christmas. Lookin' back through mem'ry's eye,
He saw a happy fireside on an old Missouri farm,
With Pa and Ma and seven kids assembled snug and warm
Around a purty Christmas Tree a-gleam with candle-light,
With home-folks love a-shuttin' out the boogers of the night;

He saw white popcorn on a string and big red apples hung
To ketch the light in ruddy rays whenever one was swung;
He heard a little sister that was doomed to use a crutch,
A-braggin' on her presents even though they wasn't much;
He saw his older sister with her beau a-lookin' shy,
A-settin' on the hoss-hair lounge. He used to wonder why
Young fellers took so strong to gals. Since punchin' cows, he'd found
How heifer-lonesome you can git without no shes around,
Especially at Christmas time a 'way out in the west

When all the company you've got's the "makin's" in your vest.

So there this lonesome cowpoke set and pondered what to do
To make it seem like Christmas, but of course he durn well knew
He might as well forget it, for a boar's nest batcher's chance
Of making Christmas merry wasn't worth a preacher's pants.
He listened to the wintry wind across the drifted snow,
And thought about the happy home he'd left so long ago
Against his mother's wishes just to be a cowboy bold...
He wondered how the cattle would be standin' all this cold.

Outside he heard some coyotes howl. They sounded lonesome, too,
And all at once this cowboy thought of somethin' he could do.
He stepped outside the dugout, and the cold stars heard him yell:
"Merry Christmas, brother coyotes!" Well, there ain't no more to tell.

He come back in and went to bed a-feelin' like a fool,
But grinnin' some to think how he had celebrated Yule
By wishin' Merry Christmas to a yelpin' coyote crew—
Because there wasn't no one else around to wish it to!

© 1954, S. Omar Barker, reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker, further reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited


Pictured: The poem as it appears in S. Omar Barker's scrapbook, photographed at the home of his grandniece, daughter of Jodie and Bob Phillips, November 2007.  Photo by Jeri Dobrowski, www.JeriDobrowski.com.



More poems, continued on Page 2...


A message of gratitude to you from the BAR-D



Merry Christmas all!

Thanks to all for a great year filled with poetry, art, photography, music, and the collaboration and friendship of all who share our mission to preserve the arts and life of the real working West.

Thanks for visiting CowboyPoetry.com and for following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks to all who share their words, art, and photographs. Thanks to those who make Cowboy Poetry Week happen throughout the West.

Special thanks to those of you who so importantly support the work of the Center: CowboyPoetry.com, Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, the annual Western art poster, The BAR-D Roundup. It is you, as a part of a vibrant and generous community, who make everything possible here at the BAR-D.

Merry Christmas from the BAR-D to you.



In remembrance of those who left us this year...

Dale Walker, Drummond Hadley, Sarah Sweetwater,  Tillie Davis, Chuck Pyle, Michael Whitaker, Harold Carpenter, Jack DeWerff, Shane Isaacs, Virginia Vee Williams, Wayne Nelson, Lynn Anderson, Milton Taylor, Roy Miller, Jerry Schleicher, Maybelle Sullivan Land, Burt Guenin, Glenn Ohrlin, David Bourne, Robert Chaison, Jr.



A Special Year-end Message

An urgent challenge donation ... your help is needed, now.

Friend of the BAR-D,

You care about the West and about its poetry, music, and arts. Your support is essential to the work the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry does to spread the word our our community. We can keep the words alive. It's up to you.

Faithful supporters have made possible the Center's work to preserve and celebrate the arts and life of rural communities and the real working West. Through CowboyPoetry.com, Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, and social media (Facebook and Twitter), we reach many people who share our mission. All of this work is done on a small and careful budget. Your support is essential. Please donate so we can keep working together to maintain our community and keep our story alive.

To achieve our 2016 budget goal, we must raise funds to carry out Cowboy Poetry Week activities; administer the Rural Library Program; produce the Cowboy Poetry Week poster; finish the final volume of The BAR-D Roundup (both the poster and CD go to rural libraries and to supporters); and to continue with all of the associated efforts at CowboyPoetry.com and the Center's social media communications.

A loyal friend of the BAR-D, a generous supporter, has once again offered a challenge donation to help reach our goal for the funds needed for program materials and expenses: If we can raise $6000 (by December 31), the Center will receive the challenge donation of $1000 and all facets of the programs can go forward.

Every dollar of your support is dedicated to preserving our Western heritage and promoting the arts of today's working West. All of the work that goes into these programs is done by volunteers: by me and by people like you who arrange and take part in events and activities and help spread the word. Funds are needed for printing, production, postage, packaging, design, and maintenance of the efforts at CowboyPoetry.com.

Thousands of The BAR-D Roundup CDs and annual posters have been received by libraries across the West and beyond through Cowboy Poetry Week programs. Many hundreds of rural libraries, poets, and musicians participate in Cowboy Poetry Week activities. These programs also reach out to youth, keeping these arts and traditions alive for future generations.

Each year more people learn about the poetry, music, and other creative aspects of the West and about the importance of preserving our real working West through these programs and through CowboyPoetry.com and the Center's active social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have been one of the generous and faithful financial supporters of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, you make possible Cowboy Poetry Week, the Rural Library Program, CowboyPoetry.com, and all the Center does. Whether you've contributed $10 a year or ten times that and more, you have played an important part keeping the words alive.

If you have given before, thank you for any additional support. If you have not supported the BAR-D recently, or ever, now is the time that your support will make the most critical difference. No amount is too small to make a difference.

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Please lend your support, which lets us continue to bring you our many features and programs.

You can make a donation by check or money order, by mail (please use the form here for mail to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, PO Box 1107, Lexington, VA 24450) or by a secure, on-line credit card payment through PayPal (a PayPal account is not required):

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See the links above for holiday news and more; our regular News Since the Last Newsletter is here.

See a complete list of all the holiday poems and songs posted since 2000 here.

Find the list of all the poems at the BAR-D here.







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