Anonymous; Printed in 1925 in the Philadelphia “Bulletin” — as memorized by E. F. Buehler (and inflicted annually on his family; thanks, Dad ;))
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the flat
Not a creature was stirrin’ – include me in that!
My stockings, a little the worse for tough wear,
Were flung o’er the back of a three-legged chair.
Outside snow was falling in beautiful flakes
But I didn’t care. I was too full of aches.
I’d worked in the store through the holiday strife
And was ready to sleep for the rest of my life.
When out in the airway there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
I thought for a moment ’twas the nut down one flight
Who starts up his radio late every night.
I ran to the window and loudly did cry,
“Is this Christmas Eve or the Fourth of July?”
When what to my astonished eyes did appear
But a dinky little sled and eight tiny reindeer
That seemed to be driving right up to my door
By one of those masquerade guys from the store.
I says to myself, “What can be this bird’s game?”
When he clucked to his reindeer and called them by name:
“Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer and Vixen,
Up Comet, up Cupid, up Donner and Blitzen!”
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancin’ and pawin’ of meat on the hoof.
I pulled in my bean and was tuning around
When down the chimney my visitor came with a bound.
A bag of junk on his back he displayed with a grin.
He acted as though he had come to move in.
A stump of a pipe graced his jaws as he spoke.
He said, “Got a match? Do you mind if I smoke?”
He had a – pardon me – belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was jolly and fat and chock full of glee
But I ask you, dear reader, what was that to me?
The point I want to make, it was now two o’clock
And a man in my room without stopping to knock!
As I was thinking how nervy and slick,
He says to me, “Lady, I’m only St. Nick.”
But a poor tired salesgirl’s in no mood for fun
So I gave him a look and asked him, “Which one”
As a Christmas rush shop girl, I’m sure you’ll agree
A look at St. Nicholas is no big treat for me.
“This has gone far enough. this bunk’s got to stop.
Take the air with those goats or I’ll yell for a cop.”
Without a word, he turned to his work,
Filled up my stockings and turned with a jerk,
Laid a finger aside his red nose,
Gave a nod and up the chimney he rose.
“Merry Christmas!” he yelled as away his deer ran,
I just gave a yawn and said, “So’s your old man!”