‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Expert Analysis and Commentary

Hello Noble Readers,

As the end of the year draws nigh and old man winter spews forth his icy breath, its time to think of all the special people around us – like the 305 followers of my blog, or the 1,810 followers of my twitter handle, @bookshelfbattle  (which honestly, if you haven’t followed yet, what’s stopping you?)

To thank you all, I got you all a gift – iPads.  Yes, I purchased over 2,115 iPads to give to my blog and twitter followers, my way of saying thank you for being with me at the beginning, putting up with my eccentricities, and keeping the faith that one day, I might actually review a book.

Unfortunately, the iPad truck was hijacked by the Yakuza.  Also, that was a joke.  I never bought you any iPads.  Also, the thing about the Yakuza was a joke.  Yakuza are known to read book blogs often so I don’t want to offend them.

I did get you something even better than an iPad.  “Blackberry Playbook?”  What?  Who said that?  Jesus, why don’t you just ask me to get you an etch-a-sketch or a stone tablet and a hammer and chisel?  No, what I got you is even better.

I got you all the following free recitation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Originally published in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore, his copyright status has dashed away, dashed away all.

Fun Fact – this poem was originally published with the title – A Visit from Saint Nicholas, but eventually came to be known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas because that’s the first line of the poem and people are stupid.

Yes, I see a hand.  Do you have a question?

“Do you always have to be so jaded, Bookshelf Battler?”

Yes.  Yes I do.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy as I share a Public Domain work and pretend like I actually did something.  Full text below, interspersed with my world renowned literary analysis:



‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

ANALYSIS:  Aren’t you happy to live in a time where vermin aren’t considered lovable house guests?

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;

ANALYSIS:  Mmm.  Yummy.  Plums.  A sugary fruit that gave you diarrhea was the most the youth of that time had to look forward to.  No wonder the Nineteenth Century was consumed by so many wars.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

ANALYSIS:  Fun Fact: People used to dress up for everything back then.  Going to a moving picture show?  Put on your best three piece suit.  Off to bed?  That’s no excuse for looking like a bum.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

ANALYSIS:  Cue scary music from those Jason movies – “Chee chee chee…hah hah hah”

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

ANALYSIS:  Shutters.  People used to have like, these wooden doors on their windows, you know to keep out murderers, monsters, bill collectors, and various other forms of riff raff.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,

When what to my wondering eyes did appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer

With a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.

ANALYSIS:  I find it odd that this poem is considered one of the definitive accounts of what Santa Claus is like, since it describes him, his sleigh, and his reindeer as being small.  Personally, I prefer my Santa to be fat as hell, his sleigh to be the size of a Cadillac Escalade, and his reindeer to be steroid loaded bucks, because frankly, they’d have to be to pull all that around the world in one night.  I’m sorry, but the reindeer juice.  Everyone knows it.  Get your head out of the sand.

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, Donner and Blitzen!

ANALYSIS:  OK, sit back and think about the gravity of this for a minute.  This author named the reindeer.  When you’re with your kids and you’re all like, “Hey, let’s leave out a carrot for Dasher!” that reindeer got his name because of Clement Clarke Moore.  And he actually put some thought into naming the reindeer.  He didn’t just half-ass it and go, “On Eugene!  On Fred!  On…uhh…Marvin?  Yeah, what the hell, Marvin the Reindeer, that sounds good.”

To the top of the porch!  to the top of the wall!

Now dash away!  dash away!  dash away all!”

ANALYSIS:  Keep in mind, this takes place in a time long before space travel, where families gathered round and said to each other, “You know, I bet some day man will crack the porch barrier.  Imagine it, men soaring through the air, reaching the tops of walls…”

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

ANALYSIS:  Well, shit.  Now I have to start doing scientific experiments on leaves during hurricane season just to determine whether or not a beloved children’s poet is full of crap or not.

So up to the housetop 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.

ANALYSIS:  Can you guys get the hell off my roof?  Do you know how much a roofer would charge me to repair reindeer damaged shingles?  And you know he’ll tell me he’s coming in a window between 9 and 6, then call me at 6:15 to tell me he’s sorry he can’t make it and can we try next week…

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

ANALYSIS:  And thus began the Christmas tradition of telling children that an obese man will commit a felony level breaking and entering into their homes.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

ANALYSIS:  I mean, honestly, if you know the guy is coming to bring you presents, the least you can do is have a cockney chimney sweep run a brush through the thing.  Common courtesy.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a pedler 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 on 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;

ANALYSIS:  Yes.  Santa hit the pipe.  Hard.  Fairly certain it was just tobacco though.  Crack would not be invented until the 1980’s by Sir Isaac Crackington.

FURTHER ANALYSIS:  Look, kids!  Cancerous carcinogens in a festive holiday shape!

He had a broad face and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

ANALYSIS:  Dude, seriously.  The man is here to bring you shit.  You don’t have to dump all over him.  OK, yeah he’s fat.  But you weren’t winning any beauty contests either, Beloved Christmas Poet Clement Clarke Moore.

A wink of his eyes and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

ANALYSIS:  If it’s one thing I always appreciate in a home invader, it is a sign that I have nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.

ANALYSIS:  And thus began the timeless Christmas tradition of parents taking the money they’d worked all year long for, using it to purchase presents, then giving all the credit to a mythical fat man.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

ANALYSIS:  To lay one’s finger on the side of one’s nose, an old gesture akin to a wink, or to indicate a secret jest to another individual, as in “Hey Buddy, I just invaded your home.  You know it.  I know it.  Let’s not make a big deal of it.”

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

ANALYSIS: Fun Fact:  The reindeer and a sleigh full of presents remain on the roof the entire time Santa is in your house.  Is your roof structurally sound enough to carry such a hefty load for an extended time period?  I know mine isn’t.  I don’t know about you, but every Christmas Eve, I get a little nervous when I think about how the only thing standing between me and a contingent of 500 pound Nordic animals from falling through my roof and onto my friggin’ face while I’m sleeping is the craftsmanship of the incompetent, cost cutting, crack at the top of his pants general contractor who put in the lowest bid to construct my home.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight –

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

ANALYSIS:  It’s Seasons Greetings, you politically incorrect hatemonger.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Fellow bloggers, I hope you enjoyed this equivalent of a blog based Christmas Special.  I’ve busted on Mr. Moore quite a bit, but I give the man some credit.  He originally wrote this as a heartwarming tale to tell his children, but it was later published and became the basis for much Christmas lore.  I apologize to him that I am such a malcontent that I was not able to reproduce his poem as is, without offering my mean spirited comments.

In fact, his ghost just appeared in my office and we had the following exchange:

MOORE:  You just made fun of my poem?

ME:  Yes.

MOORE:  Yeah, well, at least I’ve been published in a mass market, bitch!  (Then he pretended to drop a microphone, turned his back on me, and walked away.)

I hope you’re enjoying this holiday season, followers!  Let me know in the comment section if there are any other holiday classics you’d like me to analyze with my expert commentary!

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5 thoughts on “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Expert Analysis and Commentary

  1. gpj103 says:

    Great humour as always!

  2. have a blessed christmas!

  3. Reblogged this on Bookshelf Battle and commented:

    I wrote this a few years ago and it still gets web search hits today. BQB’s Analysis of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

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