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Christmas Poems from Saint Nicholas Magazine
Report to Moderator Old 05-15-2012 03:09 PM
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Here is a collection of Christmas poems from the old children's magazine Saint Nicholas.

Click here for a printable version.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"A Christmas Eve Thought" by Harriot Brewer Sterling
From St. Nicholas magazine, December 1895

If Santa Claus should stumble,
As he climbs the chimney tall
With all this ice upon it,
I'm 'fraid he'd get a fall
And smash himself to pieces—
To say nothing of the toys!
Dear me, what sorrow that would bring
To all the girls and boys!
So I am going to write a note
And pin it to the gate,—
I'll write it large, so he can see,
No matter if it's late,—
And say, "Dear Santa Claus, don't try
To climb the roof to-night,
But walk right in, the door's unlocked,
The nursery's on the right!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"The Tardy Santa Claus" by Kate D. Wiggin
From St. Nicholas magazine, January 1896

I am a little Santa Claus
Who somehow got belated;
My reindeer didn't come in time,
And so of course I waited.
I found your chimneys plastered tight,
Your stockings put away,
I heard you talking of the gifts
You had on Christmas Day;
So will you please to take me in
And keep me till November?
I'd rather start Thanksgiving Day
Than miss you next December!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Christmas Twice a Year" by Gelett Burgess
From St. Nicholas magazine, November 1897

Some children think that Christmas day
Should come two times a year;
But that is not at all the way
That it should be, I fear.

For in the summer Christmas-trees
Are very, very small;
And all the games and toys one sees,
They are not ripe at all!

The dolls are very tiny ones;
The wagons will not go;
The balls are littler than buns—
It takes them months to grow!

The candy it is, oh, so sour!
The guns they will not shoot;
There's need of many an autumn shower
To ripen Christmas fruit!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"The Night Watch" by Alice Packard Palmer
From St. Nicholas magazine, December 1916

Now come right here, my pretty puss,
With breast so white and glossy;
With perky ears and quirky tail,
And nose turned up so saucy.
Please sit quite still; don't scratch or bite,
But listen to my humming,
For I shall sing of Christmas time,
And Christmas is a-coming.

Around your neck this bell I'll hang
On ribbon red and pretty;
And when you hear the big church-bells
Peal out through all the city,
You frisk about, and ring your bell,
And ring it hard; yes, very;
For everybody, even cats,
At Christmas must be merry.

You must be good the night before,
And stay close by my stocking.
Don't go to sleep, but lie quite still,
And when you hear a knocking,
Or any funny little noise
As though 'twere Santa creeping
A-down the chimney black and big,
Just purr to him your greeting.

And Santa Claus will stroke your fur—
Of course he'll love my kitty.
Then when he sets his great pack down,
Indeed, 'twill be a pity
If you don't run and frisk about,
And set your bell a-ringing,
And wake me up, so once I'll see
St. Nick and what he's bringing!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"The Meaning of It" by Florence M. Osborne
From St. Nicholas magazine, December 1916

(Read down the first and last letter of each line!)

A-bundle of letters for Sant-A,
M-uch whispering upstairs and dow-N,
E-vergreen boughs from the woodlan-D,
R-ibbon-tied parcels from tow-N;
R-ed holly-berries and green mistleto-E,
Y-ule-log all ready to burst into glo-W.
X-tra good things in the pantr-Y,
M-ysterious sounds here and ther-E,
A-box full of goodies from Grandm-A,
S-tockings hung up by the stai-R.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Christmas Eve" by Walter Taylor Field
From St. Nicholas magazine, December 1916

I. Eleven O'Clock

I wonder if it's Christmas yet. I went to bed at eight.
I've slept a hundred hours, I guess, and still I have to wait.
It's just as dark as dark can be, and not a single ray
Of light comes through the curtains, yet it surely must be day.

The stockings are all hanging up along the chimney-shelf,
And mine is next the fireplace—I hung it there myself.
Hark! Somebody is walking there, and it must surely be
That Santa Claus has come at last. I'll peek downstairs and see.

My sakes! He's been and filled them, and they are hanging there
With that delightful lumpy look that Christmas stockings wear!
There's Mother—and she's peeking in! I think it's just too bad
That she can't wait till morning comes, to see what luck she's had.

She's often said to me that if I peeked before 'twas light,
I'd only find some coal and things—for peeking isn't right.
She's taking lots of risks, I think, just after what she's said;
But I'm not peeking anyhow; I'm going back to bed.

II. Three O'Clock

I had a funny dream just now. I dreamed that Santa Claus
Came up the stairs, and through the door, and then, without a pause,
Tiptoed to where I lay asleep, all snuggled up in bed;
He was a stumpy little man; his cheeks were round and red;

His whiskers were as white as snow; his nose was short and wide;
He wore a long fur overcoat with pockets on the side,
And sticking from the pockets there were dolls, and pop-corn strings,
And wooden guns, and jumping-jacks, an, oh, all sorts of things!

He crept across the bedroom floor without a bit of noise,
And took a pack from off his back all bulging out with toys;
And then he sat upon the bed and whispered in my ear,
"What is the number of the skates you're wanting now, my dear?"

I jumped right up and shouted "Eights!" but Santa Claus had gone;
He took his pack and left no track, and I was all alone.
It must have been a dream, I guess. I'd like to take one peep,
But still it's dark as anything, so I must go to sleep.

III. Five O'Clock

Hello! I am awake again! It's surely Christmas now!
I can't see daylight, but I know it's morning, anyhow.
And there's the clock! It's striking five! Now if it isn't day,
It ought to be—at five o'clock; that's all I've got to say!

Why, in the summer-time at five it's light as anything,
And we get up and walk about, and hear the robins sing;
The sun is late this time of year,—that, any one can see,—
But just because the sun is late, 's no reason I should be.

So here I go right down the stairs and to the chimney-place.
My! See how full my stocking is! There isn't any space
For those big bundles on the floor. And there! I wonder who—
A pair of skates! They're number eights! I knew my dream was true!

Here is a box of building-blocks, and here's a train of cars,
And here's a sled all painted red, with blue and yellow stars.
Hurrah for Santa Claus, I say! My stocking's almost burst.
"Oh, Merry Christmas, Mother! There! you see I said it first!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"The Little Christmas-Tree" by Susan Coolidge
From St. Nicholas magazine, December 1885

The Christmas-day was coming, the Christmas-eve drew near;
The fir-trees they were talking low, at midnight cold and clear.
And this was what the fir-trees said, all in the pale moonlight:
"Now, which of us shall chosen be to grace the Holy Night?"

The tall trees and the goodly trees raised each a lofty head,
In glad and secret confidence, though not a word they said.
But one, the baby of the band, could not restrain a sigh:
"You all will be approved," he said, "but oh, what chance have I?

"I am so small, so very small, no one will mark or know
How thick and green my needles are, how true my branches grow;
Few toys or candles could I hold but heart and will are free,
And in my heart of hearts I know I am a Christmas-tree."

The Christmas angel hovered near; he caught the grieving word,
And laughing low he hurried forth, with love and pity stirred.
He sought and found St. Nicholas, the dear old Christmas Saint,
And in his fatherly kind ear rehearsed the fir-tree's plaint.

Saints are all powerful, we know, so it befell that day
That, axe on shoulder, to the grove a woodman took his way.
One baby-girl he had at home, and he went forth to find
A little tree as small as she, just suited to his mind.

Oh, glad and proud the baby-fir, and its brethren tall,
To be thus chosen and singled out, the first among them all!
He stretched his fragrant branches, his little heart beat fast.
He was a real Christmas-tree: he had his wish at last.

One large and shining apple with cheeks of ruddy gold,
Six tapers, and a tiny doll were all that he could hold.
The baby laughed, the baby crowed to see the tapers bright;
The forest baby felt the joy, and shared in the delight.

And when at last the tapers died, and when the baby slept,
The little fir in silent night a patient vigil kept.
Though scorched and brown its needles were, it had no heart to grieve.
"I have not lived in vain," he said. "Thank God for Christmas-eve!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Mrs. Kriss Kringle" by Edith M. Thomas
From St. Nicholas magazine, December 1885

Oh, I laugh to hear what grown folk
Tell the young folk of Kriss Kringle,
In the Northland, where unknown folk
Love to feel the frost-wind tingle.

Yes, I laugh to hear the grown folk
Tell you young folk how Kriss Kringle
Travels 'round the world like lone folk,
None to talk with—always single!

Would a grim and grave old fellow
(Not a chick nor child to care for)
Keep a heart so warm and mellow
That all children he'd prepare for?

Do you think, my little maiden,
He could ever guess your wishes—
That you'd find your stocking laden
With a doll and set of dishes?

No; the truth is, some one whispers
In the ear he hears the best with,
What to suit the youngest lispers,
Boys and girls, and all the rest with.

Some one (ah, you guess in vain, dear!)
Nestled close by old Kriss Kringle,
Laughs to see the prancing reindeer,
Laughs to hear the sleigh bells jingle.

Dear old lady, small and rosy!
In the nipping, Christmas weather,
Nestled close, so warm and cozy,
These two chat, for hours together.

So, if I were in your places,
Rob and Hal, and Kate, and Mary,
I would be in the good graces
Of this lovely, shy old fairy.

Still I laugh to hear the grown folk
Tell you young folk how Kriss Kringle
Travels 'round the world, like lone folk,—
None to talk with—always single!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

"Shoe or Stocking?" by Edith M. Thomas
From St. Nicholas magazine, January 1886

In Holland, children set their shoes,
This night, outside the door;
These wooden shoes St. Nicholas sees,
And fills them from his store.

But here we hang our stockings up
On handy hook or nail;
And Santa Claus, when all is still,
Will plump them, without fail.

Speak out, you "Sobersides," speak out,
And let us hear your views;
Between a stocking and a shoe,
What do you see to choose?

One instant pauses Sobersides,
A little sigh to fetch—
"Well, seems to me a stocking's best,
For wooden shoes won't stretch!"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

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