December 24, 2011

A vintage reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Day 358 of Vintage 365

In a season whirling with traditions, one that has long stood out for me as a particularly treasured favourite is the memory of my mother, her voice as sweet as a celestial angel, reading A Visit from St. Nicholas to my siblings and I each year when were were growing up.

Once the pale December sun had set and a night that would see little (if any) slumber for us youngsters had taken up residency in the frosty world outside, my mom would open the thick book of Christmas carols that adorned our glass topped coffee table, gather us to her side, and proceed to bring to life each of the words in Clement Clarke Moore's perpetual holiday classic.

Penned nearly two hundred years (1823 to be exact), A Visit from St. Nicholas, often known 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, is as endearing a symbol of the holiday season as snowflakes, candy canes, or elegant Christmas trees.

While some of the groundwork for our modern day Santa Claus was certainly in place long before Moore penned his beautiful holiday piece, it is from this festive poem that the world largely developed the character of Santa that is most familiar to those of us in many parts of the world today - that of a jolly, busy elderly gentleman soaring through the air with his team of enchanted reindeer to deliver gifts to sleeping children everywhere.

And it was that, that enthralling picture painted out in words, of St. Nick's impending visit that helped to make my mother's reading so incredibly special for me, fueling  as it did, my wide-eyed childhood excitement of the seemingly magical night that would transpire before dawn broke on December 25th.
Even long after I realized the truth about Santa, I continued to adore my mother's traditional reading with the same joy and excitement, for now it encompassed both fond memories of the past and the jubilance of Christmas morning, no matter who had placed the packages beneath the tree.

Though I do not have children of my own to carrying on this sweet, deeply special tradition with yet, that does not stop me from making a one man audience out of my husband each Christmas Eve, hefty carol book in hand, as I recite A Visit from St. Nicholas aloud for both of us to enjoy.

Should you be in the mood today to hear a reading of this beautiful classic yourself, take a page from the vintage Christmas book and spend a few minutes listening to Perry Como's wonderful rendition of this marvelous early 19th century holiday poem.

If you're like me, you'll find it impossible to soak up the joyful words of this Christmas masterpiece and not be transported back to your youth, while at the same time delighting in the increased sense of excitement it creates for December 25th deep in your soul to this very day.

May visions of sugar plums dance in each of your heads this evening, dear friends, and may you know that I'm sending out countless wishes for a Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

1 comment:

  1. Too cute - reminds me of the mystery which Christmas once held for so many of us. Thanks for sharing & may you also have a Christmas blessed with good things.