Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem Twas the night before Christmas also called "A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822. It is now the tradition in many American families to read the poem every Christmas Eve.
The poem 'Twas the night before Christmas' has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of 'Twas the night before Christmas' St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!
Clement Moore, the author of the poem Twas the night before Christmas, was a reticent man and it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was that the author of Twas the night before Christmas was to remain anonymous.
The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry.