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Friday, December 24, 2004

Traditionally from memory 

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

When out on the roof, there arose such a clatter!
I sprang from my bed to see what was th'matter.
Away to the window, I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave the 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 courses they came
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer, now Vixen!
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner, on Blitzen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!

As dry leaves before wild hurricanes fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the rooftop the courses 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 slung 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 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.
He filled all the stockings and 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.
And I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

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