"Twas the Night Before Christmas" is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, although the claim has also been made that it was written by Henry Livingston, Jr.
The poem, which has been called "arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American", is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, as well as the tradition that he brings toys to children.
On Christmas Eve night, while his wife and children sleep, a man awakens to noises outside his house. Looking out the window, he sees St. Nicholas in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. After flying on to the roof, the saint enters the house through the chimney, carrying a sack of toys with him. The man watches Nicholas filling the children's stockings hanging by the fire, and laughs to himself. They share a conspiratorial moment before the saint bounds up the chimney again. As he flies away, Nicholas wishes everyone a happy Christmas.
This amazingly animated book includes nine gorgeously illustrated pages.