'And to all a good night!'.

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It's just a few hours away. Night will descend on this most special day, and children will go off to bed and lie eagerly awake. Shifting in their beds, listening for hooves and bells, they will wait and wonder... and at last drift off to sleep. To help send them to their slumber, and to nudge parents and grandparents into remembering past recitations of these dancing words, we present again Clement C. Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas.''

'Twas the night before Christmas,

when all through the house

Not 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 mamma 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 the 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 the lustre 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

it 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 that 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 roof

The 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 of 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...

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