The Night Before Christmas
This poem, now known and recognized as the perfect story about Christmas used in our modern times, was published in the newspaper the New York Sentinel, out of Troy, on December 23, 1823. Clement Clarke Moore (who lived from 1779 through 1863), printed the poem anonymously. The story has become a modern favorite and it’s been continuously in print since that time.
People have used calligraphy and written the poem on parchment, then decorated it and framed it as a gift for someone in their family, or a friend. We can do the same today on our computers, and it’s easy getting parchment-like paper from the office supply store. There are several types of fonts which can be used and even some that look like they were penned by a monk! You can try several versions of the poem and see what looks best to you, then test print it on regular paper.
Decorations can be added by hand or from the computer. Find a nice frame (an antique one looks good) and use a good matte to highlight the poem. You can often pick up inexpensive frames at a garage sale (chuck out the print if there’s one in there, and if you want to). If attention is paid to detail, this can be a thoughtful and handmade gift for someone to treasure for a long time. The entire poem is below, with additional thoughts for its use, at the end.
Visit From St. Nicholas/’Twas 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;
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 down 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 luster of mid-day 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 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 hand, 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.”
This poem also looks great printed in a brown-colored font on that parchment-like paper, allowed to dry thoroughly (if using an inkjet printer), then used to wrap a small gift, such as jewelry. Use a copper-wired ribbon for a lovely touch and top off with a little pine cone accent.