Holiday parties often have their shticks, like karaoke carol-singing, ugly Christmas sweater contests, or dressing up as your favorite “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” character. But for its end-of-semester social, the English Association of Boston College revisited a classic Yuletide tale, only with a twist: Invitees were encouraged to submit an A Christmas Carol-themed piece, whether poetry or prose, to be read at the event.

The result was as heartening as a Christmas Day feast, according to vice president Celia Smithmier ’20. “A few of our submissions were very Dickensian – formal, old-fashioned language – which were really fun. Otherwise, we had a range, from to lyrical to casual.”

Philip Verdirame ’20 was chosen as the winner, with this entry:

Counting the diminishing coin pile of my meal plan
In the chilled halls of frozen dorms
Up the icy stairs
And down the stack of books

Three silly ghosts visit me one sleepless night in the dimly lit library
They moan and warn me of essays past, present, and worst of all: future

Here he lies, killed by the pen, the paper, and the footnotes

Will someone give me half a crown
To get on the next train to New York
So I can shout “It’s Christmas Day!”

“I personally love A Christmas Carol and do not mind the clichés because I think, like ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ it is a much needed and classic piece of art that allows people to take a step back from their modern and busy lives and appreciate Christmas each year,” said Verdirame, who recounted once attending a Christmas Carol reading in a historically preserved house – “like entering the 19th century,” he said. “A genuinely wonderful experience.”

Verdirame said he consciously steered away from composing anything “deep” or too derivative of Dickens. “I wrote the poem with an ironic tone about how final exams at BC don’t let you appreciate Christmas and how much I couldn’t wait to go home and shout ‘It’s Christmas Day!’ – referencing Scrooge’s ‘Aha!’ moment.”

For Smithmier and her EABC colleagues, the social represented a welcome return to activity for the organization, which had been on hiatus. 

“Our goal is to foster a sense of community among English students at BC and allow them a space to sharpen their writing skills, study, and communicate with other similarly minded students,” she said. “So we’re just trying to raise awareness and get people involved as we re-establish our presence on campus.”

–Sean Smith/ University Communications