T'was 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 hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
Jessie Willcox Smith was published in 1912 by Houghton Mifflin Company and can be found online at the gutenberg project
Okay, raise your hand if you've always wondered, "What the heck is a Sugar Plum?" Oh please, as if I'm the only one! Well for all of you who will admit that you wondered, according to an article written in The Atlantic by Samira Kawash, a professor emerita at Rutgers University (she also blogs on candy history and opinion at CandyProfessor.com.)
" The truth of the matter is that the sugar plum is not a plum at all, nor does it contain any plum-like substance. The sugar plums of Christmas fantasy are in fact sugar, and any resemblance to plums is entirely superficial."Well, Pooh!! But not to worry, apparently these days a sugar plum is basically considered to be a no bake treat made with dried fruit, honey, nuts and other yumminess and then rolled in sugar. Whoohoo! So, here's a lovely recipe I found online at the cupcake project. These are also the prettiest sugar plums ever!
|picture from cupcakeproject.com|
Sparkly Sugar Plums for Christmas
- 2 cups toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 cup pitted prunes, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
- 1/2 cut pitted dates, finely chopped
- powdered sugar for rolling coating the balls
- plum purple disco dust (I got mine from Layer Cake Shop - this is optional)
- Mix all ingredients except the sugar and disco dust together in a large bowl. Optionally, place the whole mixture in the food processor and process for a few seconds - this will help everything to stick together, especially if you aren't the best at finely chopping. (I'm raising my hand high on this one.)
- Form the mixture into teaspoon-sized balls.
- Roll the balls in powdered sugar and then roll in disco dust.
- Note: If you let the balls sit overnight, the powdered sugar will absorb into the balls and will be less visible.
|illustration from The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora|