Ron Della Chiesa reads "The Night Before Christmas"

On December 23, 1823, Clement Clarke Moore anonymously published "A Visit from Saint Nicholas" in the Sentinel, the local newspaper in Troy, New York, and introduced his vision of Santa Claus to the world.

Gone was the slender, horse-riding disciplinarian of Christmases past, an amalgamation of myths about the British Father Christmas, the Dutch Sinterklaas, and the Catholic Saint Nicholas of Myra. Moore replaced him with a jolly fellow, dressed in red, who could hop in and out of chimneys and travel by sleigh, towed by eight flying reindeer. And while this merry Saint Nick was new back then, he certainly made a splash, and became the Santa Claus we know today.

Now, almost 200 years later, Ron Della Chiesa reads this poem -- more commonly called "The Night Before Christmas" -- for GBH Music, accompanied by the musicians of the Handel and Haydn Society. Use the player above to listen, and indulge in the holiday nostalgia.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Our thanks to Handel and Haydn Society for the use of "Pifa" from Handel's Messiah.