Probably my favourite bedtime story telling of the year. The stockings by the tree, the mince-pie and the glass of beer on the mantel piece, (not forgetting a carrot for the reindeer, of course) time for Clement C. Moore’s delightful verse to enchant. (Possibly, me more than the girls – but, hey, mums get to decide sometimes – don’t they?) I don’t own a copy of this, but every year borrow one from the library – there are many still available even this close in to Christmas.
I am always delighted by the choice of different illustrations – I am probably more of a traditionalist, usually plumping for the particularly Victorian snowy scenes but there are modern versions, cutesy versions and even origami style versions.
Alongside the mid winter depths of the original though we also have to read a Kiwi Night Before Christmas too. Indeed there are many, many variations of this poem – there is even a Librarian’s Night before Christmas – though sadly we don’t have it at Christchurch City Libraries.
Martin Gardener (renowned for his mathematical and logical puzzle books) has edited the Annotated Night before Christmas a book of “sequels, parodies and imitations” which gives an interesting history of the poem and its usage. Almost two hundred years old, the poem (and its adaptations) still have the power to conjure up the magic and anticipation of Christmas, so come down and grab a copy to read to your littlies and to all the “big kids” reading this – “Happy Christmas to All, and to All a Good-Night”.
I used to love Christmas Eve as a child. I would put clean sheets on my bed (the pretty ones with tiny orange rose sprigs on them), have a bath and get into clean pyjamas, watch the Christmas movie on television, have a Christmas story and then spend the night tossing and turning because it was too exciting to sleep. I would give up at about 5am and sit on the couch staring at the presents under the tree with my brother and sister until our poor parents finally joined us at some still ungodly hour. One year in a bid to get a bit of a sleep-in on Christmas Day our parents (poor deluded darlings) put all of our presents in pillow cases at the end of our beds but we kept going in to show them the presents we had gotten.
This year I have my own very enthusiastic not quite four year old and chubby cheeked cherub of just past one to start our own traditions with (I know Lucy has already had a couple of Christmases but I’m only just getting organised enough for the Christmas trimmings – so to speak). These may not turn in to traditions as such but this Christmas Eve the Christmas stories will be A Kiwi night before Christmas and the Christmas caravan – not just in a bid to support our local talent but to hammer home the lack of snow at Christmas.