‘Twas the night before Christmas … in GIFs!

24 Dec 20141 Share

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Photo by RTimages/Shutterstock

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‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’, the famous Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore, was first published in 1823. For this 2014 publication, though, we’ve given it a GIF update.

Also known as ‘The Night Before Christmas’, Moore’s poem is deemed responsible for the image of Santa Claus that pervades to this day: the rotund figure clad in fur clothing, with a snow-white beard and jolly disposition.

Before this 19th-century ode to St Nick, perceptions of the magical gift-giver varied widely around the world, but Moore’s ‘jolly old elf’ – said to be a mixture of the historical Saint Nicholas and a local Dutch handyman – created what has now become a shared image of Santa Claus.

The poem was first published anonymously and was written by Moore for his children. It’s still a joyful read to this day – a pleasure that can only be enhanced with the addition of GIFs.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

’Twas the night before Christmas,

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when all through the house

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not a creature was stirring,

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not even a mouse.

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The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

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in hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

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The children were nestled all snug in their beds;

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while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

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and mamma in her ’kerchief,

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and I in my cap,

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Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

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When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

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

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Away to the window I flew like a flash,

tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

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The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

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gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

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when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

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With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

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I knew in a moment he must be St Nick.

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More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

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and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!

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On, Comet, on, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!

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

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

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As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

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

so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

with the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas, too.

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And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

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

down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

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

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and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

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a bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

and he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.

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His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

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His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

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and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

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the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

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He had a broad face and a little round belly,

that shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

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

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and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

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A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

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

and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

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and laying his finger aside of his nose,

and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

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

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

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

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

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Main image of Santa on Christmas Eve by RTimages via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com