Tuesday, December 14, 2010


written by Jeanne P. Maack 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and here in the house,
the pressure canner exploded and killed Mr. Mouse.
The canning jars were all stacked on the counter with care,
in the hopes that Mrs. Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of apple butter danced in their heads;
With me in my apron and Pa taking his usual nap,
I could sure use her help peeling the apples on my lap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the kitchen to see what was the matter.
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 mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature shopping cart pulled by eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old lady, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Mrs. Saint Nick.
More rapid than eagles her coursers they came,
and she whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, PECTIN! now, CANNER! now, LIFTER and CUTTER!
They came with the rest to help with the apple butter.
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now can away! Can away! CAN away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of jars, and Mrs. Saint 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 hand, and was turning around,
in the kitchen Mrs. Saint Nicholas came with a bound.

She was dressed in an apron from her head to her foot,
and her clothes were all spotless, not covered with soot;
A bundle of jars she had flung on her back,
and she looked like a peddler just opening her pack.

Her eyes -- how they twinkled!  Her dimples how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry!
She had a sweet face and a little round belly,
that shook, when she laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
(What did you expect from a canner?)

She was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw her, in spite of myself;
A wink of her eye and a twist of her head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,
and filled all the jars; then turned with a jerk,
And carefully turning every last canning ring,
She placed the jars in the canner and we all heard "pling pling".

She sprang to her sleigh, to her team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
but I heard her exclaim, ‘ere she drove out of sight,