Friday, December 17, 2010

The object #23 The Night Before Christmas

I am willing to bet that someone else reading this has this same book, old and long out of print as it is. I'm pretty sure my sister Becky has one. Anyone else?

I have had this book longer than I remember. It was given to me when I was very young, by my parents, and read and reread and reread for years and years. My copy has scribbles in it that I made when I must have been about 2 years old. The copyright date in the book is 1942, but I was born in 1946, so this one came sometime after that.

Before I knew to love wonderful illustration and quirky typefaces, I loved this book. The poem, of course, is well-known and has probably been illustrated hundreds of times in hundreds of ways. This, to me, is the only version that matters. I can hear my Dad reading it the moment I open the cover. I bring it out every Christmas. Is it only because it holds so much for me, or is this not a beautiful thing?


  1. Anonymous11:29 PM

    I don't have our copy, but I sure do remember that illustration!

  2. I don't have that one, but I've collected quite a few others over the years. And we also have a collection of "fractured" versions, that we added the pirates night before christmas to this year. My kids are all grown up now, and we still get my dad to read the original every year. It's not Christmas without it.

  3. What a wonderful treasure! Isn't it funny how voices remain in memory like that?

    The book in my life is Dr. Seuss' 'ABC's'. My mom sent my well loved copy when I was pregnant with my first, tattered pages and all.

  4. Funny, I don't remember the cover or the title page as shown, but that full-page spread is very familiar. My grandma must have had a copy of this for us. What a sweet memory!

    I love the illustrations in old books. I'm always carting home some book simply because I like the pictures! :-)

  5. I agree with Annie. I never had a copy of the book, but I sure remember that spread. My husband and I, after moving far away from family got into a routine of watching various Christmas videos, and now that we no longer have VHS, it doesn't quite seem right that we haven't seen them. The Muppets Christmas Carol was one of them, and I have yet to find it on dvd. It is always the simple things that make the best memories, isn't it.

  6. I don;t have that version, though the illustrations are wonderful. For me, I associate the story with illustrations (or at least the one of santa and his very long pipe) by Thomas Nast. Funny, I was asked teh names of all eight reindeer today. I got six but forgot Prancer and Vixen.