The Night Before Christmas also known as Twas the Night Before Christmas and A Visit From Saint Nicholas was written by Clement Clarke Moore supposedly on Christmas Eve of 1822. He never planned to have it published. A family friend, Miss Harriet Butler learned of the poem from Moore’s grandchildren and submitted it to the local paper in Troy, New York where it was first published in 1823. To this day, the poem is the most published, read, memorized, and collected book of all Christmas literature.
It seems like every region of the country has its own version of The Night Before Christmas, so why not Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas? My apologies to Mr. Moore, but he was never lucky enough to live at PK.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all across the Lake
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Brazos water snake;
The water skis were hung in the boat shed with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were all nestled in their lake cabin beds,
While visions of Jet-skis danced in their heads;
And mom in her T-shirt gown, and I in my gimmie cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lake there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bunk to see what was the matter.
Away to the deck I rushed in a flash,
Looked out on the water and heard a big splash.
The moon on the water gave such a large glow,
That looked like the yearly Hell’s Gate fireworks show,
When, what to my wandering eyes should appear,
But a miniature deckboat, and eight white-tailed deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than schooling striped bass his courses they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name;
“Now Bucky! now, Spike! now, Piebald and Rocky!
On Muy Grande! on, Tex! on, Bubba and Whitey!
To the top of the porch deck! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
O’re the water they splashed, then moved on high,
When they met with a tree stump, moved up to the sky.
So up to the lake house the courses they flew,
With the deckboat full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of white-tailed deer hooves.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed in a wet-suit, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with mesquite ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a cedar hacker just opening his pack.
His eyes— how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like Tyler roses, his nose like a cherry!
He wore a fishing hat with shiny lures that glowed,
And his beard on his chin was as white as 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 beer belly,
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of jalapeno jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly good ‘ol boy,
And I laughed when I saw him, he gave me such joy;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He said only, “Howdy”, but went straight to work;
Filled stockings with outdoor gear; 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 deckboat, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a Texas thistle.
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
“HAPPY PK CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT, Y’ALL!