‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: A Timeless Classic

Christmas is full of traditions, stories, and poems handed down from generation to generation. One of the most widely treasured of these is the magical poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’.

Read on for the History behind the poem, complete lyrics, and a printable pdf.

Also, Check out this reading by Michael Bublé. Let me know in the comments if you like his version!

Michael Bublé Reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – YouTube Video

The Interesting History Behind the Poem

Originally titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, this poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823. The Poem was originally published anonymously, originally sent in by Moore’s friend. Moore was a respected scholar and professor and didn’t want to be associated with the unsophisticated work. It wasn’t until 1837 that Clement Clarke Moore stepped forward to claim authorship. And subsequently, it was included in Moore’s own book of poems.

The story goes that Moore wrote the poem one winters day while riding on a sleigh in snowy upstate New York and that he based the vision of Santa Clause on a Dutch Handyman and the traditional representation of Saint Nicolas.

The influence of this poem on Christmas traditions, both in the U.S. and internationally, is incredible. One of its most amazing contributions? It brought to our minds a detailed image of Santa Claus . This depiction – with his jolly demeanor, round belly, twinkling eyes, and rosy cheeks – isn’t just a whimsical description. It’s a portrayal that has been adopted all over the world for generations. Through this poem, a universal image of jolly old St. Nick was set in stone, and it continues to resonate with us today.

The Below Lyrics are the original Lyrics written by Moore in 1823. The reindeer Names that we know as Donner and Blitzen were originally written as “Dunder and Blixem” These names are close to the old Dutch “Donder en Blixem”, which means “Thunder and Lightning.” The names were changed to Donner and Blitzen in a 1900 reprint.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Poem Lyrics

’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 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 lustre 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 called them by name:

“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem! 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 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 flung 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 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 laughed, like a bowlful 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, And filled all the stockings; then 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. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas PDF Download

Download or print a beautiful copy of the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem.

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