“The Night After Christmas”

"The Night After Christmas"
"The Night After Christmas"

‘Twas the night after Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring—excepting a mouse.
The stockings were flung in haste over the chair,
For hopes of St. Nicholas were no longer there.

The children were restlessly tossing in bed,
For the pie and the candy were heavy as lead;
While mamma in her kerchief, and I in my gown,
Had just made up our minds that we would not lie down,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I went with a dash,
Flung open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of noon-day to objects below,
When what to my long anxious eyes should appear
But a horse and a sleigh, both old-fashioned and queer;
With a little old driver, so solemn and slow,
I knew at a glance it must be Dr. Brough.

I drew in my head, and was turning around,
When upstairs came the Doctor, with scarcely a sound.
He wore a thick overcoat, made long ago,
And the beard on his chin was white with the snow.

He spoke a few words, and went straight to his work;
He felt all the pulses,—then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
With a nod of his head to the chimney he goes:—
“A spoonful of oil, ma’am, if you have it handy;
No nuts and no raisins, no pies and no candy.
These tender young stomachs cannot well digest
All the sweets that they get; toys and books are the best.
But I know my advice will not find many friends,
For the custom of Christmas the other way tends.

The fathers and mothers, and Santa Claus, too,
Are exceedingly blind. Well, a good-night to you!”
And I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight:
“These feastings and candies make Doctors’ bills right!”

Dear Santa Claus (1901) | Anonymous

Online Poetry Anthology

  • This poem is a parody of “The Night Before Christmas.” In a parody, the author mimics the original but twists it in a funny way.
  • Let the student choose one stanza of the original poem to copy; then copy the same stanza from the parody.
  • Use this compare/contrast chart to analyze the differences and similarities.
  • Have the student create his own parody, beginning with the verse copied and analyzed. Write the new version in the same form as the original.
  • Illustrate the stanza, if desired.
  • The adventurous can create a parody of the entire work.

Additional Resources

“A Visit from Saint Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore
The original poem.

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
Our favorite modern illustrated version — one for each child — that is read nearly every year!

Twas the Night Before Christmas {Free eBook & Downloads}
Lots of go-alongs!