With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. And my colleagues. And Santa. And, erm, everybody.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Beijing
Nothing was different, not one little thing.
The cars sat in traffic, all tooting their hooters,
And alarms beeped out from the rows of parked scooters.
The smog it hung heavy, the AQI soared,
And in our apartment the kids were all bored.
But they hung up their stockings by the air con flue
In the hope that Saint Nick would visit their xiaoqu.
We finally got them all snug in their beds,
With visions of iPads filling their heads,
And at last the wife and I sat down to watch
A movie from Netflix (with a large glass of scotch),
When outside the window there came such a clatter
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
And out on the ring road, though stuck in first gear,
Was a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer!
But Saint Nick was stressed, yes, Santa was pouting
And even from here I could hear he was shouting:
“No Dasher, watch out, there’s a bus cutting in!
Oh Dancer, be careful, just look what you trod in!
That woman just stepped in the road right in front of us!
That bike with no lights is headed straight for us!”
I knew that if Santa Claus couldn’t move faster
His whole Christmas schedule would come to disaster
So I fired up my laptop and called on, of course,
Beijing’s essential international family resource.
There was only one hope of preventing this fuss:
It was down to the beijingkids team to save Christmas.
And out from his grotto, before things could fester
Came that funny old man with a beard, called Mike Wester.
He sized up the problem, saw it was worrying,
Called on his minions, and brought them all scurrying:
“Now, Vanessa! now, Nimo! now, Pauline and Annie!
On, Aliyah! on Jasmin! on, Ruth, Kyle and Andy!”
The beijingkids elves were not fazed by pollution;
Vanessa told Santa she knew the solution.
“From this gridlocked highway we’ll help get your sleigh off
(‘Cause even though it’s Christmas, we don’t need a day off)
But there’s only one way to bring gifts in this city-
What we need here is a red-nosed kuaidi.”
So the kuaidi came rattling along on his trike
And delivered the presents, as quick as you like.
And I thanked beijingkids, always meeting our needs,
And away they all flew like cottonwood seeds.
But I heard them exclaim, ere they drifted from sight,
“HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!”