The iconic poem, "A Visit From Saint Nicholas," more commonly known as "''Twas the Night Before Christmas," holds a special place not only in Christmas history but also in the history of New York.

Hudson Valley Post logo
Get our free mobile app

The City of Troy is located in Upstate New York, just outside of Albany, and according to Kathryn Sheehan, City of Troy Historian and Executive Director of the Hart Cluett Museum, Troy holds the distinction of being the very first place where the poem was published for the world to see.

On December 23, 1823, the Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore appeared anonymously in the Troy Sentinel newspaper. This poem vividly captures the anticipation that builds on the night before Christmas as Santa embarks on his journey.

The poem's original publication includes the names of some of the most renowned Christmas reindeer for the first time. It wasn't only the names, though, as it is believed to feature the first ever published drawing of Santa Claus as we now recognize him today.

Sheehan expresses the city's excitement, telling WRGB, "We have something that has been published literally internationally, around the world...And to know that it was first spread to the world from Troy is really exciting for us."

The poem has captured the world's heart and has been recognized as one of the most beloved poems ever written in the English language, even surpassing the works of playwright Shakespeare, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" has left its mark on Christmas celebrations and family traditions.

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," the poem was prominently featured during the White House Christmas display. Dr. Jill Biden, the First Lady, acknowledged the poem's significance, stating, "A poem etched so deeply into so many of our childhood memories."

The impact of the poem reaches far and wide, and this year, through a collaboration with the Library of Congress, a special display of various editions was showcased in the White House.

To honor its remarkable legacy, the city of Troy will hold a grand celebration on December 23rd to mark the poem's 200th birthday. The festivities will include a cake-cutting ceremony and an online reading of the poem. Additionally, the Troy Public Library is offering limited copies of the original publication of the poem in Troy's newspaper – a precious keepsake for literature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas" serves as a timeless reminder of the childlike wonder and innocence that resurfaces every Christmas.

LOOK: What Christmas was like the year you were born

To see how Christmas has changed over the last century, Stacker explored how popular traditions, like food and decorations, emerged and evolved from 1920 to 2021 in the U.S. and around the world. 

Gallery Credit: Stacker

LOOK: Holiday gift crazes and fads of the past century

Stacker compiled a list of toy crazes from the past 100 years. 

Gallery Credit: Jennnifer Billock

More From Hudson Valley Post