‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

I’ve been writing about so many Christmas traditions that mostly involve me being a greedy little babe and sneaking to see what Santa left for us. But when it comes to Christmas Eve memories, there is only one “tradition” that sticks out in my mind, and it will show that I wasn’t all greed 🙂

We used to spend Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house, which at the time was about a two hour drive from our house. Driving home on Christmas Eve, I was obviously a loud, giddy, Chatty Cathy in the back seat. We would listen to the radio to find out where Santa was on his route. Did anyone else do this? If they said he was anywhere remotely close to the northeastern U.S. I would start crying that we weren’t going to make it home in time to be sleeping before Santa came. My mom would go with the token “if you’re good, he’ll still make it. Be quiet and go to sleep as soon as you get home.”

And that’s exactly what I did, but not until after my Dad read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to us. I don’t know how this started, but I do know that without fail, this book was read to Nicole and I every Christmas Eve from when I was 4 months old until probably a few years ago when I finally admitted that it wasn’t necessary to read a picture book to grown adults.

photo (12)

I’ve since started a new tradition of sipping wine and gnawing on cookies on Christmas Eve, but just for old times take, let’s have a read. You really don’t get the same effect without the pictures and my Dad’s storybook voice, but enjoy.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

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 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 lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny 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, on Donner 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 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 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 of 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 bowlful 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,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

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