I’ve had a difficult time finding my Christmas cheer this holiday season. Between the stress of grad school, finding good gifts for my large family, and in general the other work it takes wrapping, cooking, and planning, I just haven’t felt as jolly as I normally do this time of year. When you add the devastating tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary and the other violence that permeates the news and internet, it is easy to lose faith in humanity and what little Christmas spirit there is, seems to disappear before you can really grab on to it.
So to hopefully help me find some Christmas cheer and to honor those involved in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, I’ve decided to go back to one of my favorite Christmas memories as a child listening to my PopPop (grandfather) read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to my cousins, brothers, and me on Christmas Eve. I remember all of us gathering around his recliner in our pajamas and thinking he was larger than life. This was probably the only time we were all quiet for an extended period of time. My grandfather passed away a couple of months ago and this memory is how I choose to remember him.
According to Wikipedia, “The Night Before Christmas” aka “A Visit from St. Nicholas” aka “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, was written by possibly either Major Henry Livingston Jr or Clement Clarke Moore. It was originally published anonymously in 1823 and has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by and American.” It is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus we hold today.
I hope you take the time to read the verses, I think you will find the magic we felt as children during Christmastime. The magic found in the anticipation, excitement, and awe of Christmas morning, that is somehow lost as we grow older. I offer this blog post, as a remembrance of the Christmas magic that was lost that morning on December 14th.
“Twas the Night Before Christmas”
|‘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
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
“Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
My wishes for all of you, this holiday season, is that you are filled with love, laughter, and good old fashioned holiday cheer. Be kind to those around you (not just to your family and friends) and when the holidays get stressful, and you know they will, take a deep breath and remember that when it is all said and done, you won’t remember the 25 minute wait to buy a pair of $3 socks. Instead it will be the memories you create that will stick with you, like the memory I have of my PopPop at Christmas. Those memories are where you find the Christmas cheer, spirit, and magic.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!