Christmas is derived from the Christ Mass, a Catholic high mass celebrated at the midnight beginning of December 25 to mark the beginning of the new year during the Yule or winter solstice. The Winter Solstice has been celebrated by humans for thousands of years by all people and all religions. Modern Christmas is a creation of late 1800s American media and Madison Avenue and contains many customs from all over the world. Part of the reason for the “Puritans” to move from Europe to the Americas was to escape persecution over the way they wished to celebrate the season with beer and party, some thing the Church wished to end.
The old year was composed of 360 days followed by 5 days or more of Yule party until the priests or shaman or Astrologer said the New Year had begun and killed the Yule Log fire. Trees, Decorations, Gifts,Visiting, feasting and partying were the rule, Not the exception!
The holiday season brings to mind a parody from the 1960 radio “Twas a night before Christmas and all through the pad not a critter was stirring not even old dad.”
The last entry is as close as I could find to my memories.
A Visit from St. Nicholas
Attributed to Clement Clarke Moore
Illustration by F.O.C. Darley
‘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 our brains 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 wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon 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 his finger aside of his nose,
And 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 thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”
Twas The Night Before Christmas (Texas Style)
'Twas the night before Christmas, in Texas, you know.
Way out on the prairie, without any snow.
Asleep in their cabin, were Buddy and Sue,
A dreamin' of Christmas, like me and you.
Not stockings, but boots, at the foot of their bed,
For this was Texas, what more need be said,
When all of a sudden, from out of the still night,
There came such a ruckus, it gave me a fright.
And I saw 'cross the prairie, like a shot from a gun,
A loaded up buckboard, come on at a run,
The driver was "Geein" and "Hawin", with a will,
The horses (not reindeer) he drove with such skill.
"Come on there Buck, Poncho, & Prince, to the right,
There'll be plenty of travelin' for you all tonight."
The driver in Levi's and a shirt that was red,
Had a ten-gallon Stetson on top of his head.
As he stepped from the buckboard, he was really a sight,
With his beard and moustache, so curly and white.
As he burst in the cabin, the children awoke,
And were so astonished, that neither one spoke.
And he filled up their boots with such presents galore,
That neither could think of a single thing more.
When Buddy recovered the use of his jaws,
He asked in a whisper, "Are you really Santa Claus?"
"Am I the real Santa? Well, what do you think?"
And he smiled as he gave a mysterious wink.
Then he leaped in his buckboard, and called back in his drawl,
"To all the children in Texas, Merry Christmas, You-all"
By David Emery
The Night Before Festivus
(A viral parody of “A Visit from St. Nicholas”)
‘Twas the night before Festivus and all through Queens,
Not a Costanza was yelling…as strange as it seems.
The family was sleeping, just waiting for light.
Saving their strength for the upcoming fight.
At the crack of dawn on December twenty-three,
Frank put up the pole… instead of a tree.
Estelle prepared the meal that would start the rite,
Not a laugh or a smile was anywhere in sight.
George dreaded this hour that came every year,
The airing of grievances would soon be here.
Frank stood at the table and bellowed out loud,
“So who’s got a complaint amongst this crowd?”
“You two are crazy and have wrecked my life!”
Cried George at his parents who mocked him for spite.
“A Lloyd Braun you’ll never be ” was Estelle’s refrain,
“Why should I try,ma?… the guy’s insane!”
“Enough with the grievances,” Frank said with some glee,
“Now which one of you two is wrestling me?”
“So feats of strength you want? Let them begin here,
“It’s your turn to fight him, mom… he beat me last year.”
The battle was started, the screaming was lyrical,
The fact no one got hurt was ….
ANOTHER FESTIVUS MIRACLE!!!!
The Night Before Chanukah
‘Twas the night before Chanukah, boichiks and maidels
Not a sound could be heard, not even the dreidels
The menorah was set by the chimney alight
In the kitchen, the Bubbie was hopping a bite
Salami, Pastrami, a glaisele tay
And zoyere pickles mit bagels– Oy vay!
Gezint and geschmock the kinderlach felt
While dreaming of taiglach and Chanukah gelt
The alarm clock was sitting, a kloppin’ and tickin’
And Bubbie was carving a shtickele chicken
A tummel arose, like the wildest k’duchas
Santa had fallen right on his tuchas!
I put on my slippers, ains, tzvay, drei
While Bubbie was eating herring on rye
I grabbed for my bathrobe and buttoned my gottkes
And Bubbie was just devouring the latkes
To the window I ran, and to my surprise
A little red yarmulka greeted my eyes.
When he got to the door and saw the menorah
“Yiddishe kinder,” he cried, “Kenahorah!”
I thought I was in a Goyishe hoise!
As long as I’m here, I’ll leave a few toys.”
“Come into the kitchen, I’ll get you a dish
Mit a gupel, a leffel, and a shtickele fish.”
With smacks of delight he started his fressen
Chopped liver, knaidlach, and kreplach gegessen
Along with his meal he had a few schnapps
When it came to eating, this boy sure was tops
He asked for some knishes with pepper and salt
But they were so hot he yelled out “Gevalt!”
He loosened his hoysen and ran from the tish
“Your koshereh meals are simply delish!”
As he went through the door he said “See y’all later
I’ll be back next Pesach in time for the seder!”
So, hutzmir and zeitzmir and “Bleibtz mir gezint”
he called out cheerily into the wind.
More rapid than eagles, his prancers they came
As he whistled and shouted and called them by name
“Come, Izzie, now Moishe, now Yossel and Sammy!
On Oyving, and Maxie, and Hymie and Manny!”
He gave a geshrai, as he drove out of sight
“A gut yontiff to all, and to all a good night!”
Twas a Hip
Night Before Christmas
|‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the pad
Not a hip cat was swinging and that’s nowhere, dad
The stove was hung up in the stocking routine
In hopes that the fat man would soon make the scene.The kids had all had it so they hit their sacks
And me and the bride had just begun to relax
When there started a rumble that came on real frantic
So I opened the window to figure the panic.I saw a square short that was makin’ fat tracks
Bein’ pulled by eight dogs who were wearing hat racks
And a funny old geezer was flippin’ his lid
He told ’em to “make it,” and man, like, they did!
I couldn’t help diggin’ the scene on the roof
As I stood there just waiting for chubby to goof.
They stood by the chimney in bunches and clusters
‘Till chubby slid down coming on like gang busters.
His threads were the squarest and I just had to chuckle
In front (not in back) was his Ivy League buckle.
The mop on his chin hid his button-down collar
And with that red nose, man, he looked like a baller.
Like, he was the squarest, the most absolute
But face it, who cares when he left all that loot?
He laid the jazz on me and fled from the gig
Wailin’ “Have a cool Yule and man, later, like, dig!”