*TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS PASS-AROUND GIFT EXCHANGE
Read fairly slowly pausing at punctuation.
The group forms a circle or sits in a straight row (separate circles or rows if males and females are present). Each holds the gift he brought to the party. While the poem is being read, each person passes his gift to the person on his right when reader says RIGHT; when reader says LEFT, each passes the gift he has to the left. The gift each person has in his hands at the conclusion of the poem is his to keep. NOTE: No one will receive the gift he brought if all pass gifts as directed.
Twas the night RIGHT before Christmas when RIGHT through the house
Not a creature was LEFT stirring, not even a mouse–
The stockings were hung RIGHT by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be RIGHT there.
The children were nestled RIGHT snug in their beds,
while visions of sugarplums danced RIGHT in their heads,
And mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled RIGHT down for a long winter’s nap,
When RIGHT out on the LEFT lawn there rose such a clatter,
I sprang RIGHT from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the RIGHT window I LEFT like a flash;
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
LEFT a luster of midday to objects RIGHT below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleight and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver RIGHT lively and quick;
I knew RIGHT in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came;
and he whistled and shouted, and called them RIGHT by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder and Blitzen!
To the RIGHT top of the porch! To the LEFT top of the wall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash RIGHT away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
when they meet RIGHT with an obstacle, mount RIGHT up to the sky,
So up to the housetop the coursers they LEFT flew,
with a sleighful of toys and St. Nicholas, too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard RIGHT on the roof,
the prancing and pawing of each little RIGHT and LEFT hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning LEFT around*
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, RIGHT from his head to his LEFT foot,
and his clothes were all LEFT tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung RIGHT on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His RIGHT and LEFT eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples*how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was LEFT drawn up like a bow,
and the beard LEFT on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held RIGHT in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a round little belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was RIGHT chubby and plump, a RIGHT, RIGHT jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his LEFT eye and a LEFT twist of his head,
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went RIGHT straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk
And laying his finger to the LEFT of his nose,
and giving a nod, he LEFT*up the chimney he rose.
He sprang RIGHT to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
and away they all LEFT like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he LEFT–out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all*and to all a good night!” *