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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.


Is this the first time the reindeer are all named? Love the poem.

Jenny Lebus Mon, 06/12/2021 - 16:26 Permalink

Simon has a fantastic way of reading poems and making us all feel merry.

Muriel Lowe Mon, 06/12/2021 - 16:24 Permalink

The advent calendar is excellent, thank you very much.

Anne Sewell Mon, 06/12/2021 - 16:07 Permalink

What a wonderful array of Advent gifts we are receiving.

Margaret Barlow Mon, 06/12/2021 - 15:35 Permalink

Each day is a wonderful surprise and delight

Pat 6/12/21 Mon, 06/12/2021 - 15:21 Permalink

Wonderful, so well read, we used to read that to our daughters and also granddaughters, it is timeless. it has actually got me into the spirit of Christmas. Thank you

Sheila Mason Mon, 06/12/2021 - 15:04 Permalink

I got our 40 year old pop up book of the poem to read along with Simon!

Angela turner Mon, 06/12/2021 - 15:00 Permalink

Oooh lovely! I feel all Christmassy now. Beautifully read. Thank you.

Jude Gray Mon, 06/12/2021 - 14:23 Permalink

Absolutely enchanting and beautifully read. The best so far in what has been a wonderful selection of festive gems.

Mary Bradley Mon, 06/12/2021 - 14:10 Permalink

I love this poem. Beautifully read by Simon. Thank you.

Margaret Lee Mon, 06/12/2021 - 13:38 Permalink