One of the first Christmas Characters that we encountered, when we visited St. Charles the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was a spritely attired old gentleman who subsequently asked a little boy to look into the window of a book store and observe the book, The Night Before Christmas, and then he gleefully announced that he was the author of the book.
I, happily, announced to Jonathon that there was Charles Dickens…to which he replied…Clement Clarke Moore is the recognized author of, ‘A Visit From St. Nicholas.’
‘According to legend, ‘A Visit’, was composed by Clement Clarke Moore on a snowy winter’s day during a shopping trip on a sleigh. His inspiration for the character of Saint Nicholas was a local Dutch handyman as well as the historical St. Nicholas.’ Wikipedia
I was amazed that I had, temporarily mis-attributed the authorship of this wonderful Christmas Poem…as I memorized it as a child and recited it for both family and friends and classmates…upon request.
My Mom, so loved the Christmas Poem, and she was delighted whenever I quoted it from memory!
I identified with the Holiday Classic as Santa Claus had visited our home in Eldorado…and my Dad was still with us…and it seemed that all was well with the world.
I wondered if Santa made pre-Christmas visits to all homes?
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads
And Mama in her’ kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below;
When what to why wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
On Comet! on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixen;
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys-and St. Nicholas too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
He was dressed full in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was hung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack:
His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was a white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a round little belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.’
‘A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore Wikipedia