Friday, December 24, 2010

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Clement Clarke Moore’s poem, The Night Before Christmas, was first published in 1823 and has gone on to become one of the best-loved Christmas poems.  Clarke Moore allegedly wrote the poem whilst riding home on a sleigh from Greenwich Village, having bought a turkey on Christmas Eve.  I’m a little suspicious of this story as it seems a little too serendipitous.  Nevertheless, I’m happy to buy into it today because it’s Christmas and I’m feeling all gooey and sentimental inside.

I’d bet a fairly large sum of money (and I am not a gambling man) that you know at least the opening lines of The Night Before Christmas.  But I would also bet that you don’t know that its author was the President of Columbia University, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, fluent in five languages and a real estate developer in Manhattan.  Yet, all he is remembered for is a Christmas rhyme!

Anyway, that is by the by.  Today is Christmas Eve and the last of my twelve posts of Christmas.  I’ve chosen the Night Before Christmas both for its aptness and because I do like it.  I have read it to mini-Falaise every Christmas Eve since she was born and will do so tonight and, hopefully, for many more Christmas Eves to come.  She will, for the first time, be hanging her own stocking up on the end of her bed and we will be setting out a mince pie and a glass of whisky for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph.  She will then perch on my lap, freshly scrubbed from the bath and we will have the poem.

Frankly, there’s no mileage in thinking about the literary merit of The Night Before Christmas.  It has transcended all of that.  It is simply the quintessential Christmas Eve treat.  It may well be doggerel but I defy anyone to sneer at it.

I’ve now come to the end of my twelve Christmas books.  Looking back on it, it was probably a little foolish to try and read twelve books whilst trying to deal with the end of year rush at the office, Christmas preparations and general family life, even if I did start the reading a little early.  Some of the posts were a little rushed and would probably deserve the comment that was often written on my school reports; “Could have done better.”  I will now take a few days off for Christmas and then have a small backlog of posts to write before I can crack into my 2011 reading.

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read any of my posts since I started this at the end of August and, especially, those of you who were kind enough to leave a comment – I am very grateful for all of them.  Finally, I hope you and your loved ones have a happy and peaceful holiday and that 2011 brings you health and happiness.

Merry Christmas!


Anbolyn said...

Merry Christmas to you! I just started reading your blog and have enjoyed your Christmas posts. I'll look forward to reading more in the new year!

Lisa said...

Santa gets a glass of whiskey? That is ever so much better than a cup of egg nog! I love this poem; used to have the entire thing memorized when my kids were smaller.

Lisa B said...

Belated Merry Christmas to you and your family!! I love your posts - they are pretty much the only thing I get to read since my daughter was born 4 months ago! So I can read all the books I do not have time for, vicariously though you!!
Happy New year!!

Falaise said...

Anbolyn - Merry belated Christmas to you too and I hope it was wonderful. Thank you so much for your kind comment.

Lisa - Santa certainly gets a glass of whiskey (except for one year when I was a child, when the dog got there first!).

Lisa B - Congratulations! I hope you are starting to get a little sleep now and that your first Christmas with your daughter was fantastic. Thank you for your kind comment - it is really appreciated.