Today is July 15th and there are only 163 days left until Christmas. Today marks the 236th birthday of Clement Clarke Moore, author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” or, as it is better known, Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Moore doesn’t get the love that Charles Dickens receives but his Christmas creation is likely more widely read and quoted every Christmas than even A Christmas Carol.
It’s too bad because Moore is worthy of celebrating and the story of the creation of A Visit from St. Nicholas is a great Christmas story in and of itself.
It is not hard to imagine then what transpired that snowy Christmas Eve in 1822. Catherine sent her husband out into the elements to get one more turkey, which she and the children were preparing as a donation to the poor. Their home, with six children at the time, was one filled with love and warmth and tradition.
Clement ventured into town, his coachman being a jolly, round fellow with a long white beard and a most cheerful disposition. After he purchased the needed turkey from Jefferson’s Market, with sleigh bells merrily ringing in his ears as the snow fell that Christmas Eve day, he composed a short poem.
Moore returned home with the turkey and the family traditions of Christmas took hold. He added to them by delighting his young children that night by the fire with the first reading of “The Night Before Christmas”, the poem he had composed that very afternoon. Then, he tucked his handwritten copy of his creation away and gave it no further thought.
Moore was one of the most wealthy and influential men of early American New York City. He was born at the right place, at the right time and his contributions to Christmas happened in just the right way to make him a certified Christmas legend. The American Santa was born of what happened during that period of time in New York and Moore launched generations of Santa adoration from just his imagination put into verse.
Today is a day worthy celebrating and sharing.