Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Silly Christmas Lyric Meme: Twas The Night Before Christmas

Years ago I started a silly Christmas lyric meme where I take a song we hear countless times during the holiday season and discuss something that confuses me about it or is worth exploring if merely for the humour . . . (feel free to play along and share your own silly thoughts about Christmas lyrics on your own blog)

I'm going to slightly break with tradition this time around and go with a poem rather than a song. But Clement C. Moore's "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (AKA "A Visit from St. Nicholas"). Although this poem HAS been set to music many times over the years.

The Rules: Pick a Christmas lyric that inspires silly thought and discuss it. Then either tag people or simply invite your readers to chime in with their own silliness.

Feel free to use the "Cousin Eddie" image by copying the following code and replacing the '(' and ')' with '<' and '>' :

(a href="")(img src="" alt="Mark Leslie's Silly Christmas Lyric meme" /)

The Song: Twas the Night Before Christmas, attributed to Clement C. Moore.

Lyrics in Question: "When what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer with a little old driver..." and others, to be mentioned.

The Comment: I propose that the popular interpretation of this poem is missing out on a simple fact. Santa isn't a human-sized man at all, but, in fact, a tiny elf.

That could certainly explain how he can slip down the chimney without issue.

Let's look at the line. One assumes that the tiny sleigh and reideer are because of the distance Sanata appears up in the sky. But nowhere does Moore mention that Santa is really high or far away. He simply calls the sleigh miniature, and the reindeer tiny and the driver "little" and "old."

Later, the narrator describes hearing on the roof the "prancing and pawing of each little hoof."

And, when Santa arrives, he is described with a droll little mouth and a little round belly. Moore even comes right out and says: "He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf."

Then, he describes how Santa stands laying his finger on the side of his nose and then rising up the chimney. There is no description of crouching or trying to jam his human sized body into the fireplace. It's a quick and easy movement; easy, because he's elf-sized and not human-sized.

I still love this poem and have enjoyed reading it to my son every year. And I'm not at all put off by the fact that Santa is a tiny little elf rather than a human sized coke-drinking overweight man. Santa is still Santa, after all.

[To read my previous Silly Christmas Lyric commentary, check out 2012 (Santa Claus is Coming to Town) 2011 (Frosty the Snowman), 2010 (Here Comes Santa Claus) 2009 (I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus), 2008 (Silent Night), 2007 (Silver Bells) and the original 2006 (The Christmas Song)]

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