Sunday, December 25, 2011

We continued the tradition of reading a Christmas poem by firelight before sending the kids off to bed...a tradition we intend to keep for a long time.

With the sugar plums (actually M&M's, spritz cookies and Rømmegrøt) on my mind, I next thought of my semi-early (1857) copy of 'A Visit From St. Nicholas' by Clement Clarke Moore - by way of Henry Livingston Jr. This copy from Harper's Magazine was one of the original versions that gave an illustrated anatomical figure to jolly old St. Nick. For those that know it by its newer title, it is known as 'The Night Before Christmas'. This single poem was largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer (sans Rudolph), and the tradition that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus beyond the United States to the rest of the English-speaking world and beyond. I know I will continue the tradition of pulling my copy off the shelf, and reading it to my two little ones. (Most of above originally posted 12/24/09)

From our house to yours, we at Northwest Press Books wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season.