Reviving traditions; Recitals for Christmas

Reciting for an audience is a skill that, once acquired, becomes addictive. The trick is for the reader to disappear, leaving the listeners entranced. One of the classic performance poems has to be "The Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas" which is more commonly known as the "Night Before Christmas". Wikipedia has a fascinating article about the poem's disputed origins but we can all agree that it encapsulates the excitement felt as we immerse ourselves in the Christmas dream.

There are many sources of this poem online and I thought that you might find it useful for me to add some reading (reciting) notes so you can enthrall your listeners this Christmas! See my notes in bold...

start quietly but clearly which will cause your listeners to lean in and become part of the story
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
smile as you say these lines to soften your voice
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc'd in their heads,
And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap-
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
speed up and emphasise "sprang"
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,(quick here and don't pause, you want the actions to be linked)
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.(now drop your voice)
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,(pause)
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,(only a quick stop here!)
I knew in a moment (pause) it must be St. Nick.


I have split the poem into three stanzas; have a try at the first part and do let me know how you get on!

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