‘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,
Including a smoke alarm
to prevent any scares,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
Traveling safely with a shovel and flares.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of red crosses danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
Remembering always the Red Cross does care.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
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 seven tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
For there was not a doubt he was always prepared.
He carried a Disaster Supply Kit,
All should buy one and share.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Cook! now, DuPage! now, Kendall and McHenry!
On, Kane! on Lake! on, Will all together!
The Red Cross serves you no matter the weather,
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!
“As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
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.
Many goodies and presents
for all to enjoy.
Since they’re from the Red Cross, all are filled, with laughter and joy.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
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;
Being cautious and alert, because safety comes first.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He was all dressed in red like the loyal Red Cross.
That means he’s a good one, there for any cause.
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 Holidays to all, and to all a safe-night.”
-Amerit Del Rio is a volunteer at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.