December 23rd: “Twas the Night Before Christmas” Gene Autry

A Visit from St. Nicholas“, more commonly known as “The Night Before Christmas” and “Twas the Night Before Christmas” from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837. Some commentators now believe the poem was written by Henry livingstone Jr.

The poem has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American” and is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today. It has had a massive impact on the history of Cjhristmas gift-giving. Before the poem gained wide popularity, American ideas had varied considerably about Saint Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors. “A Visit from St. Nicholas” eventually was set to music and has been recorded by many artists.

On Christmas Eve night, while his wife and children sleep, a father awakens to noises outside his house. Looking out the window, he sees Santa Claus Saint Nickolas) in an air-borne sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. After landing his sleigh on the roof, the saint enters the house through the chimney, carrying a sack of toys with him. The father watches Santa filling the children’s Christmas stockings hanging by the fire, and laughs to himself. They share a conspiratorial moment before Santa bounds up the chimney again. As he flies away, Santa wishes everyone a “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”


 

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