The Many Versions of A Visit From St. Nicholas (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)
WASHINGTON DC, December 23, 2012- Few works of literature have had as many alternate versions written as Clement Clarke Moore‘s A Visit From St. Nicholas (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas). Here are a few of the ones I’ve found.
My favorite by far is the Spanglish version, for obvious reasons:
A Spanglish ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa,
Not a creature was stirring – ¡Caramba! ¿Qué pasa?
Los niños were tucked away in their camas,
Some in long underwear, some in pijamas,
While hanging the stockings with mucho cuidado,
In hopes that old Santa would feel obligado,
To bring all children, both buenos and malos,
A nice batch of dulces and other regalos.
Outside in the yard there arose un gran grito,
and I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito.
I ran to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world do you think that it era?
Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero,
Came dashing along like a loco bombero.
And pulling his sleigh instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching volando.
I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre,
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
“Ay Pancho, ay Pepe, ay Cuco, ay Beto,
ay Chato, ay Chopo, Maruco, y Nieto!”
Then standing erect with his hands on his pecho,
He flew to the top of our very own techo,
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea.
Then huffing and puffing at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala,
He filled all the stockings with lively regalos,
None for the ninos that had been very malos.
Then chuckling aloud, seeming very contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone como el viento,
And I heard him exclaim, y ¡esto es verdad!
Merry Christmas to all, ¡y Feliz Navidad!
Twas the night before Christmas… bike style
I found this one on the Tucson Velo website
‘Twas the night before Christmas and out on the street,
everybody was cycling and, man, was it neat!
The fixies were hopping at the stop signs with care,
coz TucsonBikeLawyer said the cops would be there!
El Grupo was racing, staying in a line straight.
Ignacio was beaming, saying, “Hey, ain’t they great?”
And Mom on her Surly and me on my Trek,
Were loaded with presents, trying hard not to wreck!
When over on 6th Street there came such a noise,
The whole group did a u-ie, but maintained their poise.
And over to Bicas they pedalled like crazy,
Three fell on the tracks saying, “Oh, woopsey-daisy”.
Into the lot the cyclists tore,
Looking this way and that to find out the score.
They just couldn’t figure, so gathered around
That one lowly window and here’s what they found.
One huge cargo bike and Eight La Supremas;
A ton of new bike parts and the one we call Claus.
He spoke not a word and got real busy.
Just standing there watching made everyone dizzy.
He gave the wheels new tires and put the bikes all in rows.
He oiled the chains and got grease on his nose.
He fixed all the Peugeots, the Raleighs and Schwinns;
put wheels on the racks and parts in the bins.
But before the Supremas gave the cargo a lift.
Lights, helmets and bells were the bikes’ final gift.
And he said as he left flying o’er the freight train,
“Merry Christmas to all and bikes may use full lane.”
Twas the Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the north pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!
The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their roof-tops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called “Unenlightened.”
And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in over-due compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she’d enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the gifts, why, he’d ne’er had a notion
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.
Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacific.
No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.
For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football…someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out what to do next.
He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.
His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere…even you.
So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…
“May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth.”
Notice: This poem is copyright ©1992 by Harvey Ehrlich. It is free to distribute, without changes, as long as this notice remains intact. All follow-ups, requests, comments, questions, distribution rights, etc should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org .
’Twas the Bike before Christmas
by P. R. Van Buskirk
From the website: http://holyjoe.org/poetry/buskirk.htm
’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through our house
Not a creature was sleeping, not even my spouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with screws.
(If you can’t find the nails, what else do you use?)
The children were restless, awake in their beds,
While visions of spanking them danced in our heads.
I worked in my bathrobe. My husband, in jeans,
Had gone down to the den with directions and dreams
To assemble a bike that came in small pieces
With deflated tires and fenders with creases.
Soon down in the den there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my task to see what was the matter.
Away to my husband I flew like a flash;
He was shuffling through cardboard; his actions were rash.
The bike on the rug by this now flustered Dad
Soon gave me a hint as to why he was mad.
He needed a kickstand. It had to be near.
I shuffled some papers — he saw it appear!
We twisted the screws; we were lively and quick,
And we soon knew assembly would be quite a trick.
Fast as eagles in flight the pieces were found,
And he whistled and shouted for parts all around:
“Now socket! Now pedal! Now tires! Now brakes!
On handles! On kickstand! On horn! … oh… but wait!”
In the top of the toolbox, he fumbled around;
“I need two more screws!” he said with a frown.
And like all good parents determined to please
When they meet with an obstacle late Christmas Eve,
We shouted and yelled some complaints to each other.
There was never more frustrated father and mother!
And then, in a panic, we heard on the stairs
The prancing and hopping of feet… ’bout two pairs!
I opened the door and was turning around,
When kids burst from the hall with a leap and a bound.
They were dressed all in flannel, from their necks to their knees,
And their nightgowns were soiled with sugar and cheese!
Excuses poured forth from each pair of lips;
They stood in defiance with hands on their hips.
Their eyes were wide open, and each little child
Jumped when I yelled with a voice hardly mild.
They were frightened but cute, though much bigger than elves,
And we laughed when we saw them, in spite of ourselves.
A wink of the eye and a pat on the head
Soon let them both know they had nothing to dread.
They saw not a thing but went straight to their beds,
And we finished the bike and put bows on the sleds.
Then wheeling the bike by the tree (out of sight),
My hubby announced we should call it a night.
He sprang to his bed, to the clock gave a whistle,
As the time had flown by like a large Titan missile.
But I heard him exclaim as he turned out the light,
“Merry Christmas, my dear, but next year NO BIKE!”
Some good advice for all of us:
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Techie Version
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a peripheral was stirring, not even a mouse.
The Dropcams were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The Nexuses were charging by the kids’ beds,
While visions of Angry Birds danced in their heads.
And Mama with her Mini, and I my iPhone,
Were tapping away by that pale LCD glow.
When out on the lawn there arose such a boom,
I sprang from the bed when a flash filled the room.
Away to the window I flew like a tweet,
And saw an old man shaking his fist in the street.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave an Instagram filter to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tired reindeer.
The driver was grumbling as my skin it did tingle,
And I reached for my iPod to Google “Kris Kringle.”
But, to my dismay, my device, it was dead
And throughout the house LEDs all flashed red.
The little old man look around and with a voice full of tension:
“I’m sorry to wake you but I need your attention.
I meant not to scare you or cause your kids fear
But I just launched an EMP bomb to shut down your gear.”
“Every year I’ve been coming and dropping off toys
And hiding from all the good girls and good boys
But these days I fly by and see no Christmas dreams
‘Cause the kids are all playing games while Netflix it streams.”
“And you mums and fathers, with your laptops on laps
Aren’t sleeping but tweeting, Facebooking, and Chatting With Snaps.
You barely have time to look your kids in the eye
Let alone leave me a nice piece of pie.”
“So now all your gadgets and gizmos are retired
They’ll be back on by New Year’s and I’ll home by the fire.
And for a few days at least you guys can just chat
Instead of Skyping your kids when it’s time for a bath.”
And the effect was immediate, scary, and stark.
We had to look up from our iPads and stare into the dark
And watch with wonder the soft-falling snow
And the crisp winter moon and stars that did glow.
And I looked over at Mama and she looked at me
In a way that I remembered from back in ’83.
She held out her hand and in the window we stood
While others woke up in our neighborhood.
The kids weren’t distracted with Liking their tweets
And they grabbed their galoshes and took to the streets.
They made snowmen and angels and sang Christmas cheers
And patted the eight tiny, impatient reindeer.
And they didn’t ask for Mario, Metroid, or Mickey
Instead they read books and got themselves sticky
Eating popcorn and cookies and drinking hot fresh cocoa
And talking of Christmases long, long ago.
Looking around, old Santa was pleased.
He nodded and listened to the sound of the breeze.
His beard like silver in the moonlight did shine.
“It’s Christmas!” he yelled. “You should all be offline!”
He put his sleigh into drive, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Turn off your gadgets, and to all a good night!”
One only a lawyer could appreciate:
‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, Legal Version
Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain
improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of
stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.
A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and
around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick a/k/a/
St. Nicholas a/k/a/ Santa Claus (hereinafter “Claus”) would arrive at sometime
The minor residents, i.e. the children, of the aforementioned House, were
located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations,
i.e. dreams, wherein vision of confectionery treats, including, but not limited
to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in
Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as
“I”), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the
second part (hereinafter “Mamma”), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained
period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of
headgear, e.g. kerchief and cap.)
Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the
unimproved real property adjacent and appurtent to said House, i.e. the lawn, a
certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of
the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the
cause of such disturbance.
At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of
wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter the “Vehicle”) being
pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8)
reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the
previously referenced Claus.
Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the
approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal
co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder
and Blitzen (hereinafter the “Deer”). (Upon information and belief, it is
further asserted that an additional co-conspirator named Rudolph may have been
The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer
intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences
located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle
was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or
nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or
implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the
Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue
from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the
aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what
appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances
and health regulations.
Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor
children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts.
(Said items did not, however, constitute “gifts” to said minor pursuant to the
applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.) Upon completion of such task, Claus
touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of
the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as
“lookouts.” Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.
However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House,
the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim: “Merry
Christmas to all and to all a good night!” Or words to that effect.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
in Brooklyn 2 (The Don)
Twas the night before Christmas,
Da whole house was mella,
Not a creature was stirrin’,
Cuz I had a gun unda da pilla.
When up on da roof
I heard somethin’ pound,
I sprung to da window,
To scream, “YO! Keep it down!”
When what to my
Wanderin’ eyes should appear,
But da Don of all elfs,
And eight friggin’ reindeer!
Wit’ slicked back black hair,
And a silk red suit,
Don Christopher wuz here,
And he brought da loot!
Wit’ a slap to dare snouts,
And a yank on dare manes,
He cursed and he shouted,
And he called dem by name.
“Yo Tony, Yo Frankie,
Yo Vinny, Yo Vito,
Ay Joey, Ay Paulie,
Ay Pepe, Ay Guido!”
As I drew out my gun
And hid by da bed,
He flew troo da winda
And slapped me ‘side da head.
“What da hell you doin’
Pullin’ a gun on da Don?
Now all you’re gettin’ is coal,
You friggin’ moron!”
Den pointin’ a fat finga
Right unda my nose,
He twisted his pinky ring,
And up da chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh,
Away dey all flew,
Before he troo dem a beatin’.
Den I heard him yell out,
What I did least expect,
“Merry Friggin’ Christmas to all,
And yous better show some respect!”
‘Twas the night before Christmas, Senior Version
‘Twas the night before Christmas at Rock-Away Rest, And all of us seniors were looking our best.
Our glasses, how sparkly, our wrinkles, how merry: The punchbowl held prune juice plus three drops of sherry. A bed sock was taped to each walker, in hope That Santa would bring us soft candy and soap. We surely were lucky to be there with friends, secure in this residence and in our Depends.
Our grandkids had sent us some Christmasy crafts, Like angels in snowsuits and penguins on rafts. The dental assistant had borrowed our teeth, And from them she’d crafted a holiday wreath The bed pans, so shiny, all stood in a row, reflecting our candles’ magnificent glow.
Our supper so festive — the joy wouldn’t stop.T’was creamy warm oatmeal with sprinkles on top. Our salad was Jell-O, so jiggly and great, Then puree of fruitcake was spooned on each plate. The social director then had us play games, Like “Where Are You Living?” and “What Are Your Names?
Old Grandfather Looper was feeling his oats, proclaiming that reindeer were nothing but goats. Our resident wand’rer was tied to her chair, in hopes that at bedtime she still would be there. Security lights on the new fallen snow made outdoors seem noon to the old folks below.
Then out on the porch there arose quite a clatter …..
(But we are so deaf that it just didn’t matter). A strange little fellow flew in through the door, Then tripped on the sill and fell flat on the floor. ‘Twas just our director, all togged out in red. He jiggled and chuckled and patted each head. We knew from the way that he strutted and jived our social-security checks had arrived.
We sang — how we sang — in our monotone croak, Till the clock tinkled out its soft eight p.m. Stroke. And soon we were snuggling deep in our beds, while nurses distributed nocturnal meds. And so ends our Christmas at Rock-Away Rest. Soon you’ll be with us; we wish you the best!!!
Do you have a favorite version? Please feel free to copy and paste it in the comments or provide a link to your page!
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