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The Quick 10: 10 Alternate Versions of “A Visit from St. Nicholas”

“A Visit from St. Nicholas” is one of the most parodied pieces ever written – more than 1,000 versions have been penned by professional writers and amateurs alike. Here are a few of them, but rest assured there’s a version out there for just about any profession or interest you can think of.

1. My personal favorite: the Hemingway-inspired version by writer James Thurber. It first appeared in The New Yorker in 1927.
Sample text: “It was the night before Christmas. The house was very quiet. No creatures were stirring in the house. There weren’t even any mice stirring. The stockings had been hung carefully by the chimney. The children hoped that Saint Nicholas would come and fill them. The children were in their beds. Their beds were in the room next to ours. Mamma and I were in our beds. Mamma wore a kerchief. I had my cap on. I could hear the children moving. We didn’t move. We wanted the children to think we were asleep.”
Here’s the rest.

2. “A Visit from Jack Nicklaus.”
Sample text: “As our members and guests all gathered around,
Down the chimney Jack Nicklaus came with a bound.
He wore slacks of pastel, cerise or vermilion,
White shoes, yellow sweater – he looked like a million!”

3. “A Visit from St. Sigmund.”
Sample text: “T’was the night before Christmas, when all through each kid
Not an Ego was stirring, not even an Id.”

4. ‘Twas the Night Before the Morning After, by Dave Barry.
Sample text: “‘Twas the Night Before the Morning After Christmas
Or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever religious holiday your particular family
unit celebrates at this time of year via mass retail purchases
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except Dad, who was stirring his third martini
In a losing effort to remain in a holiday mood.”
Here’s the rest.

5. “Magical Mystery Yule”
Sample text: “”Now, Maxwell! Now, Martha! Now, Prudence and Pepper!
On, Sun King! On, Sadie! On, Jude and Loretta!”
The bus was soon landed. The slightest of pauses
Then out through the doors came four Santa Clauses!”
Here’s the rest.

6. The Cajun Night Before Christmas.
Sample text: “Den Mama in de fireplace done roas’ us de ham, Stir up de gumbo, an’ make de baked yam.
Den out on de bayou dey got such a clatter… Make soun’ like old Boudreaux done fall off his ladder.”
Here’s the rest.

7. “A Visit from St. Nicholson.” This was on a comedy album by Bob Rivers.
Sample text: “And with that, he buried his head in the sack and said, ‘Let’s see what you get from your old buddy Jack. A hatchet for Daddy…’
He reared back his head.
‘To scare all those little buggers upstairs in bed. And a stiff drink for mommy in a nice tall glass. She could really use something to kill that bug up her chimney.’”
Here’s the rest.

8. A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas by Philip Yates.
Sample text: “When out in the mist thar arose such a racket, I slid down the mast with me sword to attack it.
Away to the poop deck I ran very fast, I threw off the anchor and shouted ‘Avast!’”

9. Larry the Cable Guy’s politically correct “Twas the Night Before a Nondenominational Winter Holiday.”

10. The Solider’s Night Before Christmas. Corporal James M. Schmidt wrote this version in 1986 and it has been passed around ever since, often attributed to someone else entirely (“a solider stationed in Okinawa” is pretty common).
Sample text: “But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure, said ‘Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.’ One look at my watch and I knew he was right, Merry Christmas my friend Semper Fi and goodnight.”
Here’s the rest, and the story behind it.

Here’s the real one, just in case you’re not all St. Nicholased out.


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