by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942–Sep 1945

We all of us have 
Christmas dreams
of Santa showing
on the scene

Of Christmas
stockings in a row
upon the mantle
with fire below

Of trees and tinsel
and mistletoe, 
of children running 
to and fro

Of gifts piled high
beneath the tree,
some for you
and some for me

The table laden
set for a feast
of fowl or some
other beast

A glass of wine,
a jug of ale,
a bowl of 
Christmas Wassail

A place for me
before the fire
to spend a dreamy
peaceful hour
before we say
a fond farewell 
to those who
traveled 
through the snow
to share the love
we all did show
and wish each other
with good cheer
Merry Christmas
and 
Happy New Year!

 *     *     *
The author: Robert Lin Cook served with Reg. Weapons Co. (2d-2d) from 1942–44, at Guadalcanal and Tarawa during a 33-month overseas tour.

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Christmas Dreams
The Anglo-Saxons used the phrase Wæs hal! as an everyday greeting. Wæs is a form of the verb "to be" related to modern English "was." Hal is the ancestor of the modern English words "whole" and "hale." Thus, Wæs hal! literally meant "Be healthy!" The Vikings who later settled in Northern England used a dialectal variant of the same phrase: Ves heill! As the Anglo-Saxons and Norse shared a custom of welcoming guests by presenting them with a horn of ale (or cup of mead, or goblet of wine), the greeting evolved into a toast. 

The phrase was eventually contracted into one word, Wassail, and came to refer to the act of toasting to someone's health, wassailing, and to a type of alcoholic beverage (spiced ale or punch) used to toast people's health on special occasions. The use of wassailing to mean "caroling" (as in "Here we go a-wassailing...") stems from the habit of singing songs whilst drinking from the "wassail-bowl" during Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Ingredients:
1 gallon apple cider 
25–30 whole cloves 
6–10 cinnamon sticks 
1 quart pineapple juice 
1 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate 
Mix all ingredients in a large pot and simmer.
Serve hot.