Season's Greetings from Justin Havre & Associates

Posted by Justin Havre. on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 at 10:01am.

From all of us in the Calgary office, we would like to take a moment to wish you and your family the very best of the season. 

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the past year, with all its ups and downs, the highlights and the low-lights.  We take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our clients who put their faith in us this past year; as well as to all who have navigated these unexpected economic conditions with us and made the best of what was given.

We can only look forward to 2016 with great expectations and extend our sincere wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.

The story of The Night before Christmas

If there are children or grandchildren in your world, no doubt they will hear the magical story of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas, read to millions of children around the world every year.

This poem, originally penned as “A Happy Visit from St. Nicholas”, was published anonymously in 1823.  It was later given attribution to Clement Clarke Moore, an American, who admitted to writing it in 1837.

It was the writing of this poem which gave birth to the popular version of Santa Claus which we hold to be true today.  Prior to this characterization, mid-nineteenth century America had different notions of who or what St. Nicholas actually was.

The Plot

The poem was written in a style similar to that of a limerick.  It follows the adventures of a family, fast sleep on Christmas Eve, and the father who is brought out of a sound sleep by odd noises in the house.  He witnesses the delivery of gifts and presents and has a never-before-seen glimpse of the right jolly old elf.

The Story

Moore conceptualized the poem on a very snowy day in New England while out shopping.  His method of transportation on that day was a sleigh, and the inspiration for the St. Nicholas character was a local handyman.  Moore was the originator of many of Santa’s features, but he is said to have borrowed other aspects of the Santa Claus legend, such as reindeer which Santa uses to pull his sleigh.  It was Moore who created the notion that Santa arrives Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day.

His poem appeared in the December 23, 1823 issue of the Sentinel, a paper published in Troy, New York.  It was a friend of Moore’s who sent it to the paper; hence, it ran with no byline.  Moore was a scholar and a professor and evaded association with such a childish poem until its popularity became undeniable. Moore officially acknowledged ownership of the poem when he included it in a book of other works published in 1844.

The fact that The Night before Christmas caught on is due in part to the times in which it was published.  The religious nature of Christmas was unsettling, even to some Protestants.  The character of St. Nicholas inadvertently took the focus away from the religious aspect of Christmas, somewhat problematic among non-Catholics of the day, and instead embraced the season as magical and child-centered.

Through the years, slight changes have been made to the text.  For example, the current Donner and Blitzen names of reindeer, which are German in origin, were given the Dutch names of Dunder and Blixem by Moore.  The English translation for these words is “thunder and lightning”.

Our changing culture and linguistic preferences have also influenced the test.  The moon on the “breast” of the new-fallen snow is often changed to “crest”, and “ere” he drove out of sight appears now as “as” he drove out of sight.

There are original copies of the poem housed in the New York Historical society library and others held by private collectors.

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