Share ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas With Your Family This Year!
The holiday classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is one that most adults know, almost by heart. Once you begin reciting the opening lines, ‘’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,’ you may immediately begin to recite the rest of the story verbatim. It’s catchy and charming and easy to remember, and has stood the test of time as a true classic for everyone in the family.
The poem has even been cited as being the reason so many in America today think of Santa Claus as being an old, fat and jolly man with a red suit and beard, and why they can name his reindeer by heart. Before the poem was published in 1823, stories about Santa varied from location to location and many descriptions of him as a character were vague. This was the first time a story described him in detail, including what he wears, his girth, and his famous ‘Ho, ho, ho’ greeting.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is also the first time a poet put into writing the suggestion that Santa actually brought toys to children on Christmas Eve. Before that time, legends of a man named St. Nicholas related how he would bring dates or fruit or special breads to families but rather than shimmying down the chimney to deliver them in secret, he might arrive on a donkey and toss these gifts to families from his saddlebags. It’s quite an achievement when one long poem brings together an entire country in how they tell stories to their own children about Santa Claus!
Families today appreciate ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas because it’s perfect for everyone in the family. Some poems and stories written a century or more ago can be very vivid and even a bit frightening for children. A Christmas Carol, with its stories of ghosts who visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, may be too frightening for young children and may not be the best choice for the entire family. However, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas simply tells the sweet story of a man hearing Santa arriving on his roof and disappearing before anyone else in his family can get a glimpse of him!
If you haven’t read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in some time, check out a new copy and read it with your children. Have them read it to you as it’s simple to understand and to follow. See if they can memorize the lines of the rhyme and recite them later. This can be a fun way to increase their reading abilities and can be a great holiday tradition you both enjoy.