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With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore


“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Florence,

The helpers were watching, the snow come in torrents;

They had sprung to life, full of good cheer,

For they knew that St. Nicholas soon would be here;

The brushes were standing, side by side in their jars,

Resting after painting lakes, cows and cars;

The paints and palettes, with colors rich and deep,

Had just settled in for their long winter’s sleep;

When up in the air there arose such a fuss,

The helpers, they sprang up to see just what it was.

They ran to the windows in such a mad dash,

Opened the blinds and raised up the sash.

The moon was out full, shedding its light,

Making objects below seem shiny and bright.

They stared and they stared and what did appear,

A shiny red sleigh and eight dancing reindeer,

A driver so good he deserved much applause,

The helpers knew it was dear Santa Claus.

More rapid than eagles the reindeer did fly,

And Santa, he called them saying “Look what I spy!

Brushes, canvases, palettes and clay!

Art takes place here, and what an array!”

They circled around, the closer to see,

Santa let out a whoop of glee.

“Look at the paintings, what treasures below!

This is where creativity must flow!”

So down to the rooftop, the reindeer they flew,

With Santa, the sleigh, and the presents too-

And the helpers, they listened, and heard on the roof

The delicate paw sounds of each little hoof.

They wondered if they should go back to their slumber,

When in the chimney, it sounded like thunder.

Down came Santa dressed in red and white,

The helpers stared, he was quite a sight;

And slung across his broad, wide back,

Was a gift-laden, large bright red velvet sack;

His eyes they twinkled, his presence so quaint,

“Is this the school where they teach you to paint?”

“It is,” they assured him and he laughed oh so merry!

His cheeks were as bright as a sunny red cherry.

“And drawing, and baskets and barn quilts too?”

“Yes, yes” they told him “And we help too!”

“I hear this school began as a gift.”

“Oh yes, and Santa the rewards were swift!”

He was such a jolly, happy, good-natured elf,

And they had to laugh, in spite of themselves.

He was quiet and thoughtful as he nodded his head,

“I like it here,” the old man said.

He unloaded his sack and got right to the mission,

He filled the stockings, oh what a vision!

And when he was all through stuffing those,

He nodded and then up the chimney he rose.

He jumped in his sleigh and gave the reindeer a cry,

And with lightning speed, away they did fly.

And they heard him shout as they faded from view,

“Merry Christmas to Florence, and Happy New Year, too!”

Florence Blog Post written by Becky Stragand

Becky Stragand is a writer and retired educator who enjoys books, interior design, and tending to her cats. She lives in West Jefferson with her husband and felines.