Must-Have Holiday Emoji Recipes for 2020

By Kurt Eidsvig

It’s the Most Wonderful Time (To Text)

Stay home. Save your neighbors
from the careless carols. Customized
and personal, and better than gooey-frosting
gingerbread homes could ever hope for,

if you combine some old familiar emoji
standards into 2020 Christmas missives,
they’ll deliver delicious messages like sugar-
striped surprises for your loved ones

and their golden gumdrop eyes. Faster
than fresh-baked sugar cookies slow
cool in their near-glacial icing drips,
and safer than traveling to see newborn

babies in the starry, distant night—hotter
than hot cocoa with mini marshmallows,
steaming from the stove—these must-have
seasonal emoji recipes gather together
contemporary tidings filled with warmth
and joy while retaining the clever nuance
of texting eggplants sent in lust.

♫“I’ll be home for Christmas. If only in my dreams.”♫

Smiley-faced Hypodermics

These nifty treats promise
to serve up the best festive,
fun reactions for your entire
holiday text-gift list this year.

Snapchat missives sent with these
sharp shards of heartfelt hope will shout
to everyone you know: “I hope you get stabbed
and jabbed with properly spaced

and placed new needles as soon
as possible next year!” You’ll remind

the world about the truth in Christmastime,
and how new beginnings await. Just mix

one part hypodermic needle with one part
heart-eyed smile. No need to wait in socially-
distanced department store lines for re-sanitized
Claus-lap begging. Every grinning needle’s

as good as a nice child’s crayon-scribbled
list sent to the North Pole, pulling for friends
and family. They’ll hear your words: Dear Santa,
Please bring them all gorgeous gallon vats

of fast-tracked and true vaccines, acceptable
for minimal side effects, that provide protection
for all their days. Add a ribbon too to say, when
you start unwrapping from the stress in waiting,

use this to bow-tie yourself back together
again really tight. Or fashion a tourniquet
with the healthcare provider of your choice
when the time comes to find your injection site

amidst the messy jumble of light strings
tangled all together into arteries and syringe-
seeking cool blue veins your body has become
during lingering quarantine.

♫“It’ll be a blue Christmas without you.” ♫

Modern Manger Scene or Scientific Santa’s

This year we all spelled faith in three wise
and different ways: The belligerent denials,
full of angry, shouting air gulps; wishful thinking
about the impossibilities of danger when lured

by vacation deals and economics; or social media
scrolling for news of miraculous new vaccines.
This Christmas, by Frankensteining
together the picture-parts of traditional emojis

we exchange our makeshift manger cribs
for cherubic needle babies and beckon far-reaching
eyes to walk toward Bethlehem haltingly,
but together. Or, we remake Santa into scientist

instead, since every emoji we ever truly loved
counts on dual meaning. Like those helpless peaches
we’ve repeatedly unleashed to mean luscious,
sweetening ass-traps. Saint Nick believes

in research. He can deliver, grow, develop.
He can bring together a manger of doctors, nurses,
and lab technicians who surround
baby bright syringes in simple pastoral

scenes. There’s a sheep, an R2-D2, a baby Yoda.
Don’t get caught up in the religion or the science
of it all when cooking up text messages for your
grandma. True believers bank on Christmas magic,

leave cookies out with milk in style,
knowing anyone who arrives from out of town—
whether by camel, car, or reindeer sleigh—
should quarantine for a little while.

♫“Last Christmas I gave you my heart
the very next day, I asked you to stay
away ten to fourteen days.”♫

Avocado Toasting Happy Holidays & More

Any reveler hitting send on recipes this year
can cast countless contagions of innovation; holly-
jolly mistletoed, colliding cups of cheer. Why not
try avocados dressed as wobbly non-binary

snowpeople making angel patterns until
they roll down sledding hills, snowballing
into hope? Or, Scrooge McDuck as senator,
signing pandemic relief checks Christmas day?

Just don’t emoji-entice your addict cousin
with a needle by mistake, or say your stepsister
should be wearing a merry mask in contemporary
hieroglyphs; she still loves to gripe on hoaxes. Avoid
combining flags and masks and fists;
as they may be misconstrued as invitations
to debate election recounts during Zoom-
call family gatherings where they mute

out what you say. Instead, you can remix
Rudolph, zip Mrs. Claus’ lips shut, and craft
eggnog from White Claw cans. When in doubt,
remember safety first rules in emoji kitchen too,

and the forgotten lessons of long-extinct old
dinosaurs before their fall. When they didn’t
have anything nice to say with their emojis,
Tyrannosaurus Rex pulled back their little arms,
stepped away from all their scrolling,
and didn’t send anything at all.

♫“Our finest gifts we bring
Pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum.” ♫

Kurt Cole Eidsvig is an artist and poet based in Key West, FL, USA. He’s earned awards from the Warhol Foundation/ Creative Capital, the University of Montana, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Learn more at or @eidsvigart on Instagram. 

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Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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