Ah, the subtlety of a slightly overripe paean to Christmas! M. C. Younglove’s delicate hint that patrons might wish to purchase books from him is swaddled in nostalgia: a desperately nostalgic description of Christmases past is bolted to a poem that Younglove could be certain that parents remembered from their own childhoods. Dab in references to “happy days of infancy,” “little rogues … dreaming of the merry Christmas that awaits their waking,” and “prattlers,” and Younglove surely managed to tug at the heartstrings (and pursestrings) of loving Ohio parents. This use of “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” to advertise wouldn’t be the last to do so among the many reprints of the poem.

“To All Good Little Folks and Their Parents” (from Daily Cleveland Herald [Cleveland, Ohio] 24 December 1841; p. 2)

The Christmas visit of the patron friend of all good Masters and Misses, the venerable Santa Claus, is known to every child; and while tradition has it that the little Dutchman comes down the chimney to deposite [sic] some appropriate gift in the stockings hung up by kind mothers, the little rogues nestle cosily in bed dreaming of the merry Christmas that awaits their waking. Old folks are reminded of their own happy childhood days by the annual visit of St. Nicholas; for how anxiously have we waited for the morning dawn to see what we have received in our little stocking, when we found an apple, a sugar plum, a gewgaw, or a toy, and along with the rest, perhaps a birchen rod, to teach us obedience and subjection. In short, we hardly can give up our belief in Santa Claus, until we have some little feet for little stockings ourselves, to fill with such articles as we, in our childhood, received from our parents. Happy days of infancy, which like an ever-flowing stream, glides from its fountain but never returns again to its primitive source.

In latter days, the good, considerate old Santa has laid in a wonderful store of nice and inviting little Books for all classes and ages of the young, that afford them instruction as well as a rich fund of innocent amusement. Mr. Younglove has an elegant and choice collection, and no parents can fail to invite a visit from Santa Claus after their prattlers have read to them this evening the following poetical description of


’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,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced through 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 midday to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

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;

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! now, Vixen!

Oh! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Donder and Blixen—

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now, dash away, dash awa, dash away all!”

As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount t the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys—and St. Nickolas [sic] too.

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof

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 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 look’d like a pedlar 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 on 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 laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump; a right jolly old elf

And I laugh’d, 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 fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d 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!”

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