The poem “The Night Before Christmas” is an enduring American Christmas tradition

The Night Before Christmas

Ask Rufus: The Night Before Christmas

Ask Rufus: The Night Before Christmas
The poem “The night before Christmas” is a lasting American Christmas tradition but little to know its history or realize its impact on how we celebrate Christmas. Many current views of St. Nicholas or Santa have their roots in the poem. He even popularized the notion that it was Christmas Eve that St. Nicholas traveled on a sleigh drawn by reindeer and went down the fireplace delivering gifts. The poem which first appeared in print in 1823 was originally titled “A Visit to St Nicholas.” He is usually credited to Clement Clarke Moore of New York. Its popularity grew in the 1830s, but the first publication I saw in Mississippi was in the Republican Woodville on December 23, 1851, under the title “A Merry Christmas to All! The regional opinions of the Christmas newspapers often took up or made parodies of Moore’s poem. An advertisement of 1866 by Rueff in the Falcon of Oxford advised that the stockings be well stuffed so that the children could find what all the “good man Santa Claus” had placed in their stockings after going down the chimney on Christmas Eve . And of course Rueff’s Store had all that Santa needed to buy. On January 18, 1874, Memphis Daily Appeal even had a post-Christmas version of “The Night Before Christmas”, but with a message on Christmas: “Twas the night before Christmas and in the street, I would be greeted by everyone Friend that I would have met with “Just who I wanted, come and have a drink, and I would take it without stopping to think … I drank a friend and his beautiful charming, Bless her dear heart, I I drank his success in this lottery of life, But more success in I drank until the night had finished his duty, I drank till morning Operated in all its beauty I drank … well, the more I am not very sure, Then on the rest draws the charity curtain.It was morin after Christmas and in bed, I turned in turn with A sick head, and I thought with regret of the night that had just passed, and I swore with a vim that this farce was the last. “Another take-off of” the night before Christmas “appeared on 22 December 1906, Greenville, Mississippi Times. He began: Twas the night before Christmas ‘goodnight’ had been said And Annie and Willie had slipped into bed; There were tears on their pillows, and tears in their eyes, And every little breast was filled with sighs; For that night, the command of their stern father had been given that they had to withdraw precisely to seven instead of eight. The Divelbiss bookstore in Columbus also found the poem to make the right advertising copy and published in the December 11, 1921, Columbus Dispatch: The night before Christmas and throughout the store the bookshelves were empty from the ceiling to the floor with A smile on her on his face lay the dealer in his bed as he thought of the joy of all his books spreading Spread Joy by making this Christmas book and getting them to Divelbiss’. “And a book gave the little Elizabeth Govan Garth for Christmas in 1896 was probably from Divelbiss’ The book was” The night before Christmas or a visit from St. Nicholas. Rufus Ward is a local historian Send your questions about local history to Rufus Ward is a native of Columbus, a local historian Send your questions about local history to Rufus at


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