It’s Christmas Eve!! One more sleep! Stockings up this evening, oh how I loved this day as a child. The anticipation, the excitement. I would have carefully chosen gifts for my sister, 2 brothers and parents and bought them from my saved up pocket money, wrapped them carefully and couldn’t wait to be able to present them to the recipient. We would put a sock on the end of the bed when we went to bed, and oh how I remember that indescribable feeling of pushing my feet down into the cold at the bottom of the bed and feeling that unique scrunchy squishiness of a stuffed sock – HE’S BEEN!! I did my best to recreate the sheer magic of it all for my own children when they were small. My elder daughter in particular loves this season even more than me and has a great many family rituals that she does with her own daughter. They went round their locality on the bus yesterday for instance, something they do every year, admiring all the seasonal lights put up in peoples windows and gardens.
Nowadays, one of my many regular Christmas things is listening to the Carols from Kings. I am atheist and don’t particularly enjoy the religious element. I do completely love the wonderful music and the exquisite soaring voices, it makes me feel wonderful, warm and sentimental.
I am at my elder daughters today. Later on this evening, I shall stuff the turkey and put it in the oven to slow cook overnight. Another of our family rituals is that it is compulsory to wake up to a house smelling of turkey.
Whatever you are doing tomorrow, I wish you joy and happiness. I hope that you have enough good food to eat, as much company as you need and want and that you enjoy this seasonal time of celebration, however you partake, or not.
This classic Christmas poem is by Clement Clarke Moore. “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, also known as “The Night Before Christmas” and “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas” from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823, and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who acknowledged authorship in 1837.
The poem, which has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American”, is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. It became a popular poem which was set to music and was recorded by many artists. (With thanks to Wikipedia)
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ 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 danc’d in their heads,
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains 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,
Gave the luster of mid-day 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 coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer and Vixen,
“On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder 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 the 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 dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he look’d 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 of 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 laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laugh’d 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,
And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.