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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.


I love this poem, beautifully read by Simon.

Yvonne Huizinga Mon, 06/12/2021 - 22:22 Permalink

Thank you Simon, for reading so beautifully. I listened to you with my grandsons. We all enjoyed it ; and at the end we agreed that the ‘magic’ of Christmas was brought to us this year by Simon and The Arts’ Society!

Stephanie Clenton Mon, 06/12/2021 - 21:24 Permalink

Absolutely delightful

Judith Mon, 06/12/2021 - 19:59 Permalink

What fun! Beautifully read with a St Nick twinkle thank you. Listened twice before facing the summer’s day in Canberra but could almost be in the northern hemisphere with my eyes shut. 🎄🎄🎄

Gini Mon, 06/12/2021 - 18:52 Permalink

What a lovely reading of such an evocative poem, the descriptions paint a wonderful magic. Thank you

Anne Bernard Mon, 06/12/2021 - 18:13 Permalink

Delightful. Looking forward to putting one shoe out on the windowsill for small treats and opening presents on Christmas Eve with family in Iceland.

Pat Hindley Mon, 06/12/2021 - 18:05 Permalink

How lovely, Simon.
I quite welled up.
Thank you so much.

Ellena Mon, 06/12/2021 - 17:51 Permalink

Oh my goodness, I’m a little girl again. Thank you for the memory.

Regina Mon, 06/12/2021 - 17:47 Permalink

Simon has such a wonderful speaking voice - he really brought this poem to life. Thank you.

Helen HS Mon, 06/12/2021 - 17:43 Permalink

Thank you see much - beautifully read.

Mary Mon, 06/12/2021 - 16:59 Permalink