Where Did ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Come From?

When I think of December and Christmas tales, the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas inevitably pops into my head. This year, it entered my thoughts early in December because of the cold and snow in my area. As the words chimed in my mind, I began wondering just who wrote it?

Santa Claus flying through the snow-filled sky in his sled led by a reindeer above a town to wish all a Merry Christmas. Image by AnnaliseArt at https://pixabay.com/illustrations/santa-claus-in-sky-snowflakes-3807540/
Santa Claus flying through the snow-filled sky in his sled led by a reindeer above a town to wish all a Merry Christmas. Image by AnnaliseArt at https://pixabay.com/illustrations/santa-claus-in-sky-snowflakes-3807540/

Turns out, there is actually some controversy about that very thing. First published in a New York newspaper in 1823, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas was reportedly written by an unknown author. Some think one of the newspaper employees may have written it, but then in 1844, Clement Clarke Moore claimed authorship in a published book of poetry. However, Moore’s original manuscript has never been located.

Another family—that of Major Henry Livingston, Jr.—claimed ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas originated in the Netherlands. Considering that some of the reindeer names seem Dutch may support this claim. Also, a study found Livingston’s claim more feasible, ruling out Moore’s prose as the true source.

Wherever ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas came from and whoever wrote it, grab a cup of hot cocoa, sit back, relax, and enjoy this traditional Christmas Eve tale! 🙂