Clement C. Moore wrote “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” better known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” as a gift for his children. If an enthusiastic house guest had not sent the poem to a local newspaper editor, the jolly old elf who travelled by reindeer-drawn sleigh might have enlivened only one family’s traditions.
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder 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 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.