Thursday, December 16, 2010


   Yesterday, when I spoke of the Christmas card with the poem, "T'was The Night Before Christmas", I deliberately didn't put the author of that poem as Clark Clement Moore, even though I'm ancestrally related to him. He was a sour, difficult,  and mean spirited man and there is evidence to suggest he was not the author. His peer, Major Henry Livingston Jr., related to Moore's wife, is more likely the author. I read a comprehensive article some years back  about the investigation into the true author of the poem and came away convinced it was Livingston's name that belongs next to this poem. Just for the heck of it, I looked it up on Wikipedia and I was amazed to see Wikipedia has a briefer version of the debate. You may look it up if you'd like at this link:

The poem has had major influence over the magical games we play at Christmas with our young children. It has, in essence, given definition to the gift giving, charitable figure that left presents for children in their socks or shoes over the centuries in many cultures. The actual title of the poem is "A Visit From St. Nicholas."  St. Nicolas was a real person with a history of his own that represents the charitable side of man's nature, mostly lacking during centuries of hungrier times.
 There are cards that depict St. Nicholas, with his flowing beard, walking with a staff, with his pockets overflowing with presents. I couldn't find the one I had in mind. But with that poem we metamorphosed St. Nicholas into the jolly red suited fat man we know as Santa Claus. And, even he has changed over the years.
From an old fashioned guy like this one...
To a slimmer, hardworking guy like this one. Its all fun.,
Wikipedia, by the way, is a free service. A very valuable one in my opinion. They are stressed for operating cash and are looking for donations. If you can send them a fiver once a year,  we can hope they will always remain free. There isn't very much that is truly free these days.

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