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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.


We live a 45 minute autobahn dash away from Munich, Bavaria... the locals in these parts fill cute, smaller versions of the hessian sack Father Christmas is seen with in more classic portrayals, for their children. December in Germany, where all our classic festive accoutrements stem from, is any child's dream location, filled to the brim as each day is, with chocolate, plätzchen & gifts, thanks to the Advent calendar, St Niklaus Day & eventually, Christmas Eve, when the big presents are finally exchanged. Christmas in Germany is beautifully classic, tradition-filled & because of the light-drenched Festive Seasonal markets & monochromatic garden deco illuminating the icy darkness, surprisingly elegant & serene.

Michelle Mon, 06/12/2021 - 06:49 Permalink

Thank You very much for the simply delightful Santa Poem.
It filled my heart with joy and my mind fully of happy childhood memories.
Long may Santa continue to deliver his gifts and good will
with the help of his handsome reindeer.

Mrs. Patricia … Mon, 06/12/2021 - 01:42 Permalink

Must polish and put out my boots for St Nicholas... For children in The Netherlands and Germany it is literally 'Christmas come early' as St Nicholas fills their boots with small presents, fruit, nuts and chocolate. They may also leave a note for St Nicholas: a wish list to pass on to Father Christmas for the 'real' Christmas!

Anonymous Mon, 06/12/2021 - 00:45 Permalink