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 the hopes that Saint Nicholas would soon be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads...
Everyone knows Clement Moore's classic poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas"; which some would call the most famous poem ever written by an American. "The Night Before Christmas"; as it is also called, was written by Moore for his children during a snowy sleigh ride and later published anonymously in a New York newspaper by a family friend who loved the poem and felt it needed to be shared with the world.
Moore was inspired by a local Dutch handyman as well as the historical Saint Nicholas when creating his character, who became critical to the creation of modern American Christmas traditions. The poem was published just as Christmas was beginning to replace New Year's as the most popular winter holiday, and it's image of a jolly Saint arriving in a flying sleigh to fill children's stockings with goodies inspired a new generation of Christmas celebrations.