A routine collection of 21 short, undemanding rhymes for the latest of Hopkins' celebrated holidays. Dullest are the professional children's versifiers--James S. Tippett, Marchette Chute, Myra Cohn Livingston, Hopkins himself (""I love the tinsel/ I love the bells/ I love the presents Santa Claus sells""--sells?)--with their faded visions of gifts, goodies, snow, Christmas trees, and other seasonal trappings summoned here to trigger knee jerk merriment--or, in a few cases, piety. Of these Aileen Fisher who leads with three entries is most engaging, though facile. There are more poignant views of the season by Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks, a more disarming indulgence of sentimentality by e. e. cummings, and of course Christina Rossetti's inevitable ""What can I give him/ Poor as I am. . . ."" But it takes the familiar nursery rhyme ""Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. . ."" to remind us of the difference between tradition and convention.