Robyn Bryant

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December 19, 2012
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Make a memory with memorization this Christmas

“’Twas the Night before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore is by far the most well-known children’s Christmas story about Santa Claus. Reading it is a Christmas Eve tradition in many households.Originally titled “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” it was published in 1823. This timeless poem helped define the traditional Santa we see today. It has been illustrated many times over the years, so there are several editions of the book.My mom was given the task of memorizing this verse as a young girl, and I was inspired to do the same as an adult. As a children’s librarian and mother of two, I recited it every year, so it remains with me. I encourage parents, or anyone with children, to memorize a favorite story to recite. Stories in rhyme are easier to memorize and have a nice sing-song quality when told aloud. There are many to choose from, and they are easy to remember after repeated readings. Examples I had fun with include “Madeline,” “Owl & the Pussycat,” “Wynken Blynken & Nod,” “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and several by Dr. Seuss. “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” is my favorite. Here it is if you want to read or memorize it. If you recite it enough (either out loud or to yourself), it will come back to you each year.Wishing all of you a Happy Christmas and a Good Night!‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the houseNot 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,While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads,And Ma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap —When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.Away to the window I flew like a flash,Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,Gave a luster of mid-day to objects below;When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,With a little old driver, so lively and quick,I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:“Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen,“On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen;“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!“Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away, all!”As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,With the sleigh full of toys — and St. Nicholas too:And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roofThe prancing and pawing of each little hoof.As I drew in my head, and was turning around,Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry,His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.He had a broad face, and a round little bellyThat shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly:He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;But a wink of his eye and a twist of his headSoon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,And laying a finger aside of his noseAnd giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,And away they all flew, like the down of a thistleBut I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.— Clement Clarke Moore

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The VailDaily Updated Dec 19, 2012 12:50PM Published Dec 19, 2012 12:49PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.