‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the park

not a creature was stirring, the lights were all dark.

The lilting notes of the organ so grand

were stilled and silence lay over each stand.

The booths were all empty, no tickets were sold;

for the sweet, laughing children slept safe from the cold.

The Carousel stood in its splendor supreme,

the ponies suspended in motion, unseen.

The long winter’s night seemed simply one more

in the cold winter season when snow closed the doors.


But wait! There’s a light in the sky up above,

and closer it twinkled like a fluttering dove.

So quickly it seemed but the wink of an eye,

a sleigh and eight reindeer came down from the sky!

“Wait!” shouted Blitzen, “what have we here?”

And suddenly the carousel was surrounded by deer!

“Please, Santa,” they said, “we’ve never said this;

but to prance on that stage has long been our wish!

Can you think of a way we could possibly switch,

and just for one night let those ponies do this?”


Jolly Santa jumped down, and with feet planted wide,

seemed to take a whole lifetime their wish to decide.

Then, “I don’t see why not,” he said with a laugh,

“Why I’m sure we’d find plenty who’d jump at the chance!

So, what do you think?” Santa said to them all.

And with whinnies and squeals they answered his call.


In the blink of an eye the shuffle was made,

and eight prancing ponies were hitched to the sleigh.

With Santa aboard, they sped through the night

over houses and fields by winter moonlight.

The silvery orb struck fire from their eyes,

as the colorful chargers raced on through the skies.

Down toward a rooftop they swooped with delight.

“Now, stop slow and easy”, said Santa, “step light!”

“Don’t wake the children, for they mustn’t see

you high-flying ponies and certainly not me!”


So, quiet and still those horses they stood,

for they’d had lots of practice on how to be good.

Muller and Illions, Dentzel and Parker,

Herschel and Spillman, Morris andCarmel:

From rooftop to rooftop with Santa they flew,

’til the toys were all parceled down chimney and flue.


Then, back to the Carousel the chargers they came,

and stood all in line, gaily tired from their game.

The reindeer looked sad to see their time gone,

for they knew that one night was all they had won.

But before St. Nickolas switched them again

he chuckled and said, “I’ll give you a spin!”

So, laying a finger aside of his nose

he gave a bright nod and yelled, “Go, fellows, go!”

With deer flying there in place of the mounts,

the Carousel started to turn roundabout.

Up, down and around on the poles of pale gold,

eight reindeer paraded to notes soft but bold.

The ponies looked on with amazement and glee.

“No wonder,” each thought, “people like to ride me!”


Then slowly it halted, that marvelous ride,

while pony and reindeer were changed side to side.

The ponies, though stilled, stood with stars in their eyes,

and watched sleigh and driver mount up to the sky.

But before St. Nickolas flew out of sight,

He called to the horses, “Merry Christmas!  Good night!”


If anyone walked by the park the next day,

and if they just happened to look the right way;

They might possibly see in the sparkling white snow

the hoofprints of reindeer and ponies below.

And, you may hear the tinkle of sleighbells next spring

when the Merry-go-round’s once again in full swing!

c.2000 Donna Swanson


About dswan2

Poet, author, columnist, lyricist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife of 50 years. Born and raised in America's Heartland
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  1. zongrik says:

    cute little holiday folksong

  2. Tino says:

    This is superb! What a picture you paint. I was drawn in and kept there until the end.

    Great read. This is what Christmas is really about.

  3. dswan2 says:

    Thank you, friends! I’ll be visiting your blogs a little later.

  4. This is a very sweet holiday tale. Before the reindeer took over in popular literature in 1821 Santa was pulled by a team of horses. It’s good to see them fly again in this poem.
    Cheers and Merry Christmas
    Mark Butkus

  5. Joe Zakarian says:

    That was nice!
    Santa is coming, I hear sleigh bells It’s Christmas time!
    God Bless you, Donna, for so many nice messages!
    Joe and Rosie

  6. cool seasonal piece!!! appropriate and fun! 🙂
    happy rally!!

  7. Excellent job, Donna! You kept the beat just right, and the story was great!

  8. wordcoaster says:

    An enjoyable tale, and for me a delight 🙂

  9. I always loved Twas the Night Before Christmas! Thank you for sharing your beautiful rendition of it with us! Happy Rally!!

  10. Nel says:

    What a curiously fascinating tale. I very much enjoyed it. Thank you, ma’am.

  11. CC Champagne says:

    Just so heart-warmingly lovely!!! If it hasn’t been already, it should be set to illustrations and turned into a children’s story!!! Thank you for making me smile widely!

  12. ZQ says:

    What a treat to read. …and a HoHoHo to you. 🙂

  13. dswan2 says:

    I didn’t see a url for a website so I clicked on your picture. You look like a ho-h0-ho person!!

  14. Jennifaye says:

    Who would have thought of such tale? 🙂 Very clever take on the reindeers’ story.

  15. terri0729 says:

    What a wonderful holiday poem!!! Lovely, just lovely 🙂 Blessings, Terri

  16. Renee says:

    What a lovely twist to a very much loved story.

  17. What a great Christmas-themed read!

  18. LifeInVerse says:

    This is adorable!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

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