Merry Christmas, everyone! Whatever you celebrate this time of year, I hope you’re safe and able to celebrate with those you love in some way, even if it’s just a phone or Zoom call.
We’re going to do a First Lines Friday post with my favourite Christmas book, and then I’ll tell you how this book fits into my family’s Christmas traditions. I’d love to hear about yours!
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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all though the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
I won’t do a long tease on this one, because I think most people recognize this from some variation or another!
The Night Before Christmas
by Clement C. Moore
Illustrated by Jan Brett
This poem first appeared in a newspaper in Troy, New York, USA, on December 23, 1823, as “A Visit From St. Nicholas”. No one claimed authorship until 13 years later. Clement Clarke Moore, a professor and poet, said that he wrote the piece for his children. Unbeknownst to him, his housekeeper had sent it to the newspaper to be published. However, the family of Henry Livingston Jr. contended that their father had been reciting “A Visit from St. Nicholas” for 15 years prior to publication. Regardless of the true author, the poem is now a Christmas classic.
My mother started a tradition with my sister and I of gathering us on Christmas Eve and reading this book, the Jan Brett illustrated edition of Clement Moore’s The Night Before Christmas. When my daughter was born in 2017, Mom took me around to all the local thrift stores looking for cheap picture books to build a good starting library for her, and we found a copy of this book in this edition, so she bought it for me. (I expect that means her copy will be passed on to my sister when its her turn.)
My daughter is 3 now and in the last year she’s really started to love bedtime stories, and she has this book length’s worth of storytime patience now, so I this will be our first year snuggling up with this book. This post goes out on Christmas day, so as you read this we’ve already done it, but I’m writing this on the 22nd and my sweet little girl is beside me playing with her LeapPad smart reader. I brought our copy of this book out so I could make sure that first line quote was right and she told me I was doing a “Good job, Mom!” I can’t wait to read it to her on Thursday night!
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