Commentary: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ Helped Make the Modern Santa – and Led to a Literary Whodunit

close-up of Santa Claus suit

The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” better known by its opening line “‘Twas the Night before Christmas,” has a special place among Christmas traditions, right alongside hot chocolate, caroling and bright lights. It has also inspired the modern image of Santa Claus as a jolly old man sporting red and a round belly.

But this poem has been steeped in controversy, and debate still looms over who the true author is. Traditionally, Clement C. Moore – a 19th-century scholar at the General Theological Seminary in New York, where I work as a reference librarian – has been credited with writing the poem in 1822 for his children. Every December, library staff shares our multiple copies of the poem in an exhibit to celebrate the holiday season.

No matter who wrote it, the poem is a fascinating object that has shaped Christmases past, present – and maybe yet to come.

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Commentary: The Magnificent History of the Maligned and Misunderstood Fruitcake

Traditional fruitcake

Nothing says Christmas quite like a fruitcake – or, at the very least, a fruitcake joke.

A quip attributed to former “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson has it that “There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”

It’s certainly earned its reputation for longevity.

Two friends from Iowa have been exchanging the same fruitcake since the late 1950s. Even older is the fruitcake left behind in Antarctica by the explorer Robert Falcon Scott in 1910. But the honor for the oldest known existing fruitcake goes to one that was baked in 1878 when Rutherford B. Hayes was president of the United States.

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Commentary: Five Times Campuses Ruined Holidays in 2021

two people with Santa hats looking at Christmas tree

Woke and leftist ideologies often target traditions and celebrations around holidays, particularly those that pertain to Christianity and American identity. 

With 2021 coming to an end, Campus Reform has compiled a list of the top five instances of colleges and universities ruining holidays on campus.

1. Colleges celebrate Valentine’s Day with ‘Sex in the Dark’

Multiple colleges hosted a question and answer “Sex in the Dark,” a virtual Q&A event with health experts, just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

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Commentary: Five Times Campuses Ruined Holidays in 2021

two people with Santa hats looking at Christmas tree

Woke and leftist ideologies often target traditions and celebrations around holidays, particularly those that pertain to Christianity and American identity. 

With 2021 coming to an end, Campus Reform has compiled a list of the top five instances of colleges and universities ruining holidays on campus.

1. Colleges celebrate Valentine’s Day with ‘Sex in the Dark’

Multiple colleges hosted a question and answer “Sex in the Dark,” a virtual Q&A event with health experts, just in time for Valentine’s Day. 

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Commentary: Great American Stories Such as ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Bert and Ernie

This week in 1946, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was screened for the first time at the Globe Theatre in New York City. Audiences weren’t quite sure what to make of the film, even though it starred Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed and was directed by Frank Capra. Perhaps the economic jeopardy of life in Depression-era small towns was still all too real. Or maybe the specter of sons and husbands returning from the front reminded audiences of how many American fighting men had not come back from Europe or the Pacific.

Stewart, the leading man who portrayed small-town savings-and-loan owner George Bailey in Capra’s movie, was such a charismatic leading man that when studio executive Jack Warner heard in 1965 about Ronald Reagan’s plans to run for governor of California, he quipped, “No, no! Jimmy Stewart for governor. Ronald Reagan for best friend.”

But casting in movies, as in life, can be deceiving. It was something of an in-joke, for instance, to have Jimmy Stewart play the older brother who flunks his Army physical in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and can’t go to war. In real life, Stewart and Frank Capra both enlisted in the military after making “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” together in 1939. The Italian-born Capra, then in his 40s, produced an evocative series of films for the military called “Why We Fight.” Stewart did his part, too, and then some. After winning Best Actor for his role in 1940’s “The Philadelphia Story,” Stewart had become the most bankable star in Hollywood. Nonetheless, by the time Pearl Harbor was bombed, he was already in uniform, pulling duty at Moffett Field, south of San Francisco, in the Army Air Corps. By the end of World War II, Stewart had flown 20 combat missions in a B-24, become a squadron leader, been awarded a chest full of medals, and risen in rank from corporal to colonel.

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Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Religious Rights and Freedoms This Thanksgiving

People putting wine glasses together for a toast

The majority of Americans, 73%, say their rights come from God, not government, and say government can’t force Americans to violate their religious beliefs, according to a poll conducted by Summit.org and McLaughlin and Associates.

“There’s a widening gap between the dominant media narrative and what the American people actually believe,” Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit.org said in a statement accompanying the poll results. “We’re seeing that in these numbers. As we approach a holiday established to thank God for His blessings on our nation, the American people still believe that our rights come from God, not from government, and that the right to believe and practice our religion must be respected.

“Despite everything, it is encouraging to see that Americans still acknowledge the freedoms that made this nation great.”

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Holiday Blues: Economic Challenges Threaten Season with Delays, Shortages and Price Hikes

A series of economic struggles that have grown increasingly worse this year will likely have a significant impact on the holiday season, many economic experts predict.

After President Joe Biden gave remarks from the White House this week, one reporter called out, “Will Christmas presents arrive on time, sir?” The president did not respond to that question or the flurry of others as he walked away from the podium.

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Swift Backlash for Fauci after He Suggests ‘Too Soon’ to Say Americans Can Gather for Christmas

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci came under fire this weekend for suggesting that he may ultimately advise against group gatherings for Christmas this year.

Fauci said Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation” that it remains “too soon to tell” whether Americans for a second year in a rowwill be told not to gather in groups around the holidays.

“We have to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time,” he said.

Backlash against the White House’s chief medical adviser was swift as many right-leaning commentators and pundits said that enough will never be enough for Fauci when it comes to lockdowns and extreme precautions against COVID-19.

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