Enough already with Night Before Christmas!


‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

Though Pete van Loan was seen making the scene

The smile on his face, supremely serene

“This year I bring you wishes and tidings so dear”

Said the government House Leader, reeking of cheer

“Parliament works wondrously well” he croaked

“There’s no need to fix it, if it ain’t broked”

“Broked”? Hmmm.

Okay, dear reader, that’s all you get. I am officially hanging up my weathered beret and shoving the quill I reserve for penning pretentious verse in the drawer where I keep other mementos of the writing life. And good riddance.

Poor, old, dead Clement Clarke Moore – the guy who composed the original “‘Twas the Night before Christmas” back in 1823 – must be rolling in his stony grave, what with all the wretched adaptations of his poem (shall we call it iconic?) he has had to endure, lo these many decades since he shuffled off this mortal coil.

What is it about this rhyming trifle that sends politicians into paroxysms of parody at this jolly time of the year?

Witness New Brunswick Tory MLA Kirk MacDonald’s effort to skewer his federal colleagues a la Moore:

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was, not even a mouse

Dominic hid by the chimney with glee

In hopes he could turn more Grits NDP

Now witness New Brunswick Liberal Deputy Leader Victor Boudreau, not to be outdone, deliver a slam in doggerel to his provincial rivals:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and the House was still sitting

The premier was struggling, to stick to his knitting

His caucus was fighting, the ship it was sinking

The mood was so bad, even Betts might start drinking.

Ah yes, what true poet laureates New Brunswick has in its elected officials. Perhaps we can sell their words on the open market to help pay down the $500-million deficit and $11-billion long-term debt they’ve managed to accumulate for us over the past five years, or so.

After all, Americans love their various adaptations of Mr. Moore’s abiding claim to fame. Mostly, at any rate.

A correspondent on the social networking site, Tumblr entreats, “Stop Using ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”, suggesting that “Maybe the Advertising World Has Used This Poem Enough”. He or she then proceeds to prove his or her point by assembling a virtual cornucopia of advertising campaigns based on the ditty.

There’s WestJet and Build-a-Bear. There’s Target and ESPN and Pier One. There’s Best Buy, Old Navy and Golden Circle Ford. Come Toys R Us, come MYPackage, and Keyless Lock. Come Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen – as long as you have the goods, of course, we have the money.

Naturally, no pious objection to any of this moves the immoveable object that is retail capitalism at Christmastime.

Witness the Marriott Hotel chain’s Holiday specials, presented faithfully under the rubric “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas is all winter long, available November 15, 2013 to January 5, 2014.”

Indeed, dear reader, “enjoy the following winter salon treatments that all include our sweet coconut Sugar Scrub and other invigorating winter scents like vanilla and ginger coconut. . .Gingerbread manicure, 25 minutes, $55. . .Treat your hands to the ultimate in hydration. . .Warm up those tootsies with this seasonal pedicure featuring a vanilla spice soak, coconut sugar scrub and coconut body butter with ginger essential oil. . .Come in from the cold this winter and enjoy a hand conditioning treatment. Nails are filed and shine buffed, coconut milk is applied to hands and forearms,  followed by a coconut ginger sugar scrub, nourishing coconut ginger body butter, and completed with a hot paraffin treatment. . .Feet retreat, 30 minutes, $65.”

Or, perhaps, merely drop in on yuksrus.com to view the ultimate post-modern insult (funny, though it is):

‘Twas the night before Christmas and poor Clement Moore

Had his poem being copied by many a bore

His “Night Before Christmas” is perfect in rhyme

His rhythm and cadence are wonderfully fine.


But then come the wise guys, with Internet cool

Who use Clement’s rhyme as sort of a tool

They pick up the style from this poem of “that night”

And they hitch up their sled to whatever’s their gripe.


Thanks for that, L. Daniel Quinn. You kind of make my point.

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