Fun Facts Friday: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

December 23, 2011

On December 23, 1823 this famous poem was first published.

1 ) The story was called “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and was was published in the Sentinel, a newspaper in Troy,New York

2 ) Due to the popularity of the story, Clement C. Moore claimed authorship twenty years later.

3 ) Literary sleuths dispute Mr. Moore’s claim. His writing doesn’t match the style and him being an un-jolly type of fellow.

4 ) According to Mary Van Deusen, the true author is her ancestor Henry Livingston Jr. who read the poem to his family fifteen years before publication.

5 ) To this day the poem’s authorship is still in dispute.

6 ) The poem has been praised as “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American”

7 ) By having St. Nick visit the night before Christmas, the author shifted the focus from the controversial Christmas Day which had problematic religious associations.

8 ) New Yorkers loved the child centric version and embraced it immediately.

9 ) There are four hand written copies known to exist. Three are in museums while the fourth was sold in 2006 for $280,000.

10) The last line of the poem is actually “But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight” not its more famous replacement.

Zohar – Man of la Book

Fun Facts Friday: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

A Visit From Saint Nicholas


By F.O.C. Darley.


Twas the night before Christmas, when all through 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 mamma 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 rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my 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 a lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
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 Blitzen—
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 house-top the coursers they flew,
With a 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 all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung 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 on his chin was as 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 little round 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 sprang 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,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Images and text fromProject Gutenberg’s A Visit From Saint Nicholas, by Clement Moore

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Fun Facts Friday: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
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Fun Facts Friday: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
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Man of la Book - A Bookish Blog
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  • SpangleDecember 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Great post and wonderful illustrations.

    A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

  • stacybuckeyeDecember 25, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Wishing you the merriest of Christmases.

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