Thursday, December 9, 2010

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS




I don't blame you if you come to the conclusion that I've been drinking too much eggnog when you read the bold print, but the facts are true.

My son, Jared, was two years old in October of 1980.  His grandmother, Grandma Doll, bought him this book in early December of that year.  Mom and I read it to him time and time again during the following weeks and by Christmas, he knew the poem word for word.  When I read the book now, I can still hear his sweet little voice fascinating and entertaining us as he recited the beautiful poem, The Night Before Christmas. 

Please take the time to read this.  It's old and familiar but always a delight.

'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 sugarplums danced in their heads.

And Mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

When out on the lawn there arose 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 luster of midday to objects below,
When, what to my 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 Donder 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 housetop 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 peddlar 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 as he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

(This poem was first published anonymously on December 23rd in 1823 by a New York newspaper, the Sentinel.  It was generally attributed to Clement Moore although the claim has also been made that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr.). 

8 comments:

sarahowens said...

I love that you've posted this Shaddy. It's a wonderful reminder of some pretty nice memories with my Grandma and Grandpa who adored it. Thank you!

Now you've gone and made me crave eggnog - not a bad thing.

Stay safe through this storm that's coming honey...
Love,
Sarie

Stephanie said...

Awww, that is too sweet! I wonder if Jared still remembers it? That book looks like it is in very good condition! I will have to try to keep a couple of Jake's things like that to look back on.
I hope you put that book out every year :)

Len♥reNeverM♥re said...

Shaddy,
this is a heartwarming post!
It's the perfect time for old tradition I'd say! Have a warm cozy weekend!!

much love as always!
xo

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

SARIE: I'm glad it brought back nice memories for you too. I hope you treat yourself to some eggnog; certainly tis the season!

You stay safe and warm as well.

STEPHANIE: No, Jared doesn't remember it anymore. Every year I remind him of how he could recite it. He probably gets tired of hearing me talk about it but some things are just too special to forget about.

That's a good idea. I will put this book out every year. Thanks!

LENORE: I take it you made it home safely. That's a good thing. Would you want to be in Paris on Christmas Day?

Rob said...

Thanks for posting this Shaddy! Brought back great memories for many reasons! Merry Christmas!

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

ROB: You're so welcome, my friend. Give your sweet little daughter, Bella, a hug for me, please.

Natasha said...

I love reliving old good memories like this. This week-end i was in the attic getting Christmas things and opened a storage box that had an afghan my mom made for me when I was a baby, one she made for my son when he was a baby, Woofie -- my son's much-loved stuffed dog, Blankie -- the baby quilt I made for Alex, and the little stocking cap he got in the hospital when he was born.

:) :) :)

Shaddy aka Cheryl said...

NATASHA: Nothing comes close to the joy of finding treasures like these!!