Merry Christmas to All (And No More Idled Hands)

Image Unemployed workers in front of a shack with Christmas tree, East 12th Street, New York City,Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection, U.S.Library of Congress


It’s a hell of a thing coming up on Christmas
To look at the factory dusted with snow
The path to the gates untouched by footprints—
‘Cause the line’s sitting idle second year in a row
The line’s sitting idle, second year in a row

Now the Macy’s downtown needed a Santa
Leaving 99 fellas cold on that hiring line
My holiday greeting’s the same the last year:
“Merry Christmas my brother, can you spare a dime”
“Merry Christmas my brother, can you spare a dime”

And boys without gloves are fogging the window
Staring at toys their mommas can’t buy
While their daddies kill time out down the corner—
Hands in their pockets, shame in their eyes
Hands in their pockets and shame in their eyes

Now each home with stockings hung with care from the shelf
Where it’s a foreclosing banker, not some jolly old elf
Who’ll come calling this Christmas, and finding them there
Like a leech or a locust would strip the hearth bare
Where bankers and bosses, or some great corporate chief
Doomed another poor family to scrape by on relief—
And where each vision of sugarplums that dance in the head
Is there ‘cause a child’s gone hungry to bed
Are why to pray for a sleigh that could fly through the snow–
With a big bag of justice for the people below
And to take the occasion of this Silent Night
To call out what’s wrong, and then set it right—
If we want peace earth and goodwill among men
We’d see to it no child goes hungry again
And make not Christmas Wishes, but Christmas demands:
“Merry Christmas to all, and no more idled hands”
“Merry Christmas to all, and no more idled hands”