Skip to main content

Happy Saint Nicholas Day

A Visit from St. Nicholas, more commonly known as The Night Before Christmas and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, who claimed authorship in 1837. It is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, especially in North America.

Whilst the poem sets the arrival of Saint Nicholas on the evening before Christmas, most Western European countries observe Saint Nicholas Day on the 6th of December. This is in honour of Saint Nicholas of Myra (traditionally 15 March 270 – 6 December 343), an early Christian bishop of Greek descent from the maritime city of Myra in Asia Minor. Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. 

According to one source, in medieval times nuns used the night of 6 December to deposit baskets of food and clothes anonymously at the doorsteps of the needy. His legendary habit of gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus from the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas.

Today, we have asked Accredited Lecturer Simon Whitehouse to give us a reading of this classic poem to celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas.


Our Societies support hundreds of local arts and heritage projects. Each day we highlight a grant given in 2021. 

The Arts Society Cardiff are supporting Radnor Primary School to buy a set of glockenspiels which will enable each child in a class to have access to a musical instrument for both group practice and individual improvisation.

All donations from the Artvent Calendar will go towards The Arts Society’s grant giving fund, which awards grants to help preserve our artistic heritage, support the skills of artists and makers, and improve access to the arts for all.

Please click here to support projects like this one by making a Donation.


Lovely, thank you, Simon - and a great reminder to get the book out to read to the grandchildren over the next weeks

Penny Mon, 06/12/2021 - 13:33 Permalink

What a delight! thank you.

Niki Mon, 06/12/2021 - 13:06 Permalink

Lovely to have memories brought back with this poem so beautifully and clearly read by Simon. Thankyou

Mary Mullineux Mon, 06/12/2021 - 12:51 Permalink

Beautifully read, and a charming poem, thank you!

Ruth Webb Mon, 06/12/2021 - 12:35 Permalink

Thank you for such a lively reciting of a truly 'Christmas' poem. it brought back memories of my childhood listening to it.

Helen Norman Mon, 06/12/2021 - 12:32 Permalink

What a pleasure it was to see Simon again and to hear his lovely rendering of the St Nicholas poem, which I hadn't heard before.

Julia Jennings Mon, 06/12/2021 - 11:53 Permalink

Thank you a joy to hear

sylvia mccann Mon, 06/12/2021 - 11:49 Permalink

well read indeed. Remembering the Dutch tradition of sinterKlass when as children we all received Droste chocolate letters. Mine was a M, so lots of chocolate.

martin swanzy Mon, 06/12/2021 - 11:37 Permalink

I can’t see very well so this was a lovely listen. Thank you

Julie Mon, 06/12/2021 - 11:31 Permalink

Absolutely lovely to hear that today, thank you.

Clara Mon, 06/12/2021 - 11:04 Permalink