This piece was originally published in “The Seventh East Press,” a newspaper dedicated to Latter-day Saints who didn’t take themselves too seriously. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen published there, and at this season of joy and gladness, deserves to be seen. Naturally, Mormons will be most familiar with all of the references, but members of other faiths who think their Church bureaucracies can be a bit heavy-handed at times may appreciate the sentiment. Only one bit of PII has been deleted for the sake of propriety.
15 December 1981
The Seventh East Press
CORRELATION’S REVIEW OF
‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS’
Several years ago this review was read at the Church office building Christmas party. It has circulated privately since then.
TO: Director or the Correlation Committee
FROM: Correlation Review Committee
The Correlation Review Committees have reviewed the attached document titled “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and have found several significant problems as follows:
‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WHEN ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE, NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING, NOT EVEN A MOUSE.
‘Twas is an outdated and unacceptable contraction. We suggest — it was. Also, because the idea of stirring one’s form comes from the same word root as the idea of stirring one’s soup, it might be confusing to the reader and we suggest using the word — moving. In addition, we have noticed that a mouse will generally scurry, nibble, dart or quiver, but, almost never, stirs. Also, we think it would be much better to call the house, the home.
THE STOCKINGS WERE HUNG BY THE CHIMNEY WITH CARE, IN HOPES THAT ST. NICHOLAS SOON WOULD BE THERE.
Perhaps the writer should know that unless everyone went outside into the snowy night and hung the stockings (some were probably just plain old socks), it is more likely that they were hung in front of the fireplace than by the chimney. We think it would be well to take note that in some of the developing areas of the Church, people do not have socks, stockings, or chimneys. Moreover, the Church does not recognize the canonization of other churches. We feel this man should be called Brother Nicholas — or perhaps, in case be isn’t a member, we should play it safe and call him Mr. Nicholas.
THE CHILDREN WERE NESTLED ALL SNUG IN THEIR BEDS, WHILE VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS DANCED THROUGH THEIR HEADS.
We must be very careful with the use of the word visions. It might be better to use the word non-revelation dreams. We also suggest that “sugarplums” is a rather archaic term. Wouldn’t Tootsie Rolls or Sugar Daddies be more relevant to today’s youth. In any case, shouldn’t sugar plums be two words instead of one?
MAMA IN HER KERCHIEF, AND I IN MY CAP, HAD JUST SETTLED OUR BRAINS FOR A LONG WINTER’S NAP.
The very idea of a long winter’s nap is contradictory. Webster says a nap is a short snooze, taken usually during the daytime. This really must be changed. We would also like to point out that few really wear headgear to bed anymore.
WHEN OUT ON THE LAWN THERE AROSE SUCH A CLATTER, I SPRANG FROM MY BED TO SEE WHAT WAS THE MATTER.
Around the Wasatch front, you would not have to spring from your bed to see what was the matter. Any clatter at night on the lawn means you are getting T.P.’d. Incidentally, springing from bed by our more senior members could he hazardous to their health. By the way, how do you clatter on a snow-covered lawn?
AWAY TO THE WINDOW I FLEW LIKE A FLASH, TORE OPEN THE SHUTTERS AND THREW UP THE SASH. THE MOON ON THE BREAST OF THE NEW FALLEN SNOW GAVE THE LUSTER OF MIDDAY TO OBJECTS BELOW.
We wonder whether throwing up the sash might he rather indelicate wording, especially after a large Christmas Eve dinner. We would also like to suggest that the writer say, “The moon on the chest of the new fallen snow.”
WHEN WHAT TO MY WONDERING EYES SHOULD APPEAR, DUT A MINIATURE SLEIGH, AND EIGHT TINY REINDEER. WITH A LITTLE OLD DRIVER SO LIVELY AND QUICK, I KNEW IN A MOMENT IT MUST BE ST. NICK.
We would like to commend the author for breaking the stereotype that our “more mature” people cannot he lively and quick.
MORE RAPID THAN EAGLES HIS COURSERS THEY CAME, AND HE WHISTLED AND SHOUTED, AND CALLED THEM BE NAME. NOW DASHER! NOW DANCER! NOW PRANCER AND VIXEN! ON COMET! ON CUPID! ON DONNER AND BLITZEN!
We commend the writer for broadening the cultural base of this document by including the German names Donner and Blitzen. We wonder if this could he broadened further. Perhaps-Now Fifi! Now Cheri! Now Jose and Maria! On Chocho and Tojo! On Donner and Blitzen! We also question all this whistling and shouting in the middle of the night by a senior citizen.
TO THE TOP OF THE PORCH! TO THE TOP OF THE WALL! NOW DASH A WAY! DASH AWAY! DASH AWAY, ALL! AS DRY LEAVES THAT BEFORE THE WILD HURRICANE FLY, WHEN THEY MEET WITH AN OBSTACLE, MOUNT TO THE SKY.
We have noted that throughout this document the author has used rather long, complicated, turned-around sentences. This could he confusing to many of our readers. We suggest he write on a lower reading level, perhaps by using short, straightforward sentences such as “Just like dry leaves blow before the wind?”
SO UP TO THE HOUSETOP THE COURSERS THEY FLEW, WITH A SLEIGH FULL OF TOYS AND ST. NICHOLAS TOO. AND THEN IN A TWINKLING I HEARD ON THE ROOF, THE PRANCING AND PAWING OF EACH LITTLE HOOF. AS I DREW IN MY HEAD, AND WAS TURNING AROUND, DOWN THE CHIMNEY ST. NICHOLAS CAME WITH A BOUND.
Win the reader understand what coursers are? (Could he confused with cursers, after all the shouting and whistling). Also – the cavorting around on peoples’ roof tops sets a very bad example for our youth (who don’t need any new ideas). Also, the chimney trip is a bit much – wouldn’t it be better to just have Mr. Nicholas use the front door?
HE WAS DRESSED ALL IN FUR.
We wonder if he shouldn’t he dressed in cotton or polyester after what was said about killing animals in a recent conference. Perhaps it could he said that he was “dressed in a nice Swedish knit.”
FROM HIS HEAD TO HIS FOOT, AND HIS CLOTHES WERE ALL TARNISHED WITH ASHES AND SOOT.
Perhaps polyester would not be good here because of the problems with ashes and soot. If I were his wife I would get him a pair of OSH KOSH overalls. (Of course the use of the front door would eliminate this whole ashes and soot problem.)
A BUNDLE OF TOYS HE HAD FLUNG ON HIS BACK, AND HE LOOKED LIKE A PEDDLER JUST OPENING HIS PACK. HIS EYES – HOW THEY TWINKLED, HIS DIMPLES, HOW MERRY! HIS CHEEKS WERE LIKE ROSES, HIS NOSE LIKE A CHERRY!
This somewhat extravagant description of Mr. Nicholas makes him sound like an edible, electrical, floral, centerpiece. We suggest that the writer tell it like it is.
HIS DROLL LITTLE MOUTH WAS DRAWN UP LIKE A BOW, AND THE BEARD OF HIS CHIN WAS AS WHITE AS THE SNOW.
Knowing what the current BYU and missionary standards are, we are very surprised that you would allow Mr. Nicholas to be wearing a beard. If he must have hair on his face, it should be a mustache trimmed well above the corners of his mouth.
THE STUMP OF HIS PIPE HE HELD TIGHT IN HIS TEETH, AND THE SMOKE IT ENCIRCLED HIS HEAD LIKE A WREATH. HE HAD A WIDE FACE-
We were more than a little taken back by this flagrant disregard of the 89th section of the Doctrine & Covenants. There could even be legal implications regarding his smoking in public places.
AND A ROUND LITTLE BELLY THAT SHOOK WHEN HE LAUGHED LIKE A BOWLFUL OF JELLY. HE WAS CHUBBY AND PLUMP, A RIGHT JOLLY OLD ELF, AND I LAUGHED WHEN I SAW HIM IN SPITE OF MYSELF.
It is in questionable taste to describe this senior citizen as being so fat, but then to have the narrator laugh at him seems to me to be carrying things too far. It would be better to say, “I smiled when I saw how well he was doing in spite of his handicap.”
A WINK OF HIS EYE AND A TWIST OF HIS HEAD SOON GAVE ME TO KNOW I HAD NOTHING TO DREAD. HE SPOKE NOT A WORD BUT WENT STRAIGHT TO HIS WORK AND FILLED ALL THE STOCKINGS, THEN TURNED WITH A JERK.
We appreciated this fine example of bard work and industry, in the true tradition of deseret. However, we decry his reference to his associate as a jerk.
AND LAYING A FINGER ASIDE OF HIS NOSE, AND GIVING A NOD, UP THE CHIMNEY HE ROSE.
See our previous comment about using the door. Also, be careful where you have him put his finger.
HE SPRANG TO HIS SLEIGH, TO HIS TEAM GAVE A WHISTLE, AND AWAY THEY ALL FLEW LIKE THE DOWN OF A THISTLE.
Again, he careful of the dangerous springing. Also, if he were to give every member of the team a whistle, they might make a horrible amount of noise. In addition, after checking with the International Mission, we would like to inform the writer that reindeer have no pockets in which to put those whistles. Also, would the increasing urban membership of the Church understand the image of “down of a thistle?” ‘
BUT I HEARD HIM EXCLAIM, ERE HE DROVE OUT OF SIGHT, HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.
We feel it would be better to stay with the traditional form of “Merry Christmas.”
Although the document has some major problems, we feel there is enough of worth to justify revising. In the spirit of reduction and simplification, however, we also recommend that the number of lines he cut in half.
IT WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
It was the night before Christmas and in our home, no animals were moving about. Even the mice were still.
Some preparations were made in anticipation of a visit from Mr. Nicholas.
While the children were sleeping soundly, they were thinking about Tootsie Rolls and Sugar Daddies.
My wife and I had just gone to bed.
We heard a noise out on the front lawn and assumed that we were being T.P.’ed.
I walked to the window and pulled back the curtain.
The moon was shining brightly on the chest of the new fallen snow.
Then I saw a tiny sleigh being pulled by eight reindeer.
The little old driver was 50 lively and quick that I knew it must be Mr. Nicholas.
He came very fast. He addressed the reindeer by name:
“Now Fifi! Now Cheri! Now Jose and Maria!
On Chocho and Tojo! On Donner and Blitzen!” ‘
Just like a snowball striking a brick wall, they came to a stop in front of our home. Soon I heard Mr. Nicholas at my front door.
He was dressed in a nice Swedish knit suit. He had a briefcase full of packages.
He was smiling pleasantly.
He was clean-shaven and his breath smelled of spearmint chewing gum.
He was a bit overweight, but I smiled when I saw how well he was doing in spite of his handicap.
He wasted no time with words, but went straight to his work of putting the packages where they would be found.
Then he went out the front door and got in his sleigh.
As he was driving off, I heard him say, “Merry Christmas!”
The Old Wolf has spoken.
 Personally Identifiable Information – Census workers will know just what I mean.