Think you know The Night Before Christmas? Think Again.


Alexandra Socarides gives a clear warning at the beginning of this article that she doesn’t want to ruin anyone’s Christmas, but you should probably read the original poem one last time before reading her breakdown at the Los Angeles Review of Books about what “The Night Before Christmas” really means.

“What the man in the poem thinks is the “matter” — in other words, what the threat is to this scene of domestic tranquility — is drunk, poor people. But instead of seeing them, his “wondering eyes” (and here is where the poem shifts from realism to fantasy) land on “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.” Instead of the threatening men of the street, he is met with the man of Dutch legend. And in one fell swoop, Moore imagines a world in which the problems of class with which he is surrounded daily are transformed into something magical and good.”

Ashley Perez lives, writes, and causes trouble in Los Angeles. She has a strong affinity for tattoos, otters, cat mystery books, and actual cats, but has mixed feelings about pants. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She runs the literary site Arts Collide and does work of all varieties for Women Who Submit, Entropy, Jaded Ibis Press, and Why There Are Words. You can find her on Twitter at @ArtsCollide. More from this author →