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”.