Posts Tagged ‘A Visit From St. Nicholas’

A Visit from St. Nicholas

Friday, December 14th, 2012

At a recent performance of the Candlelight Processional at Disneyland, we noticed that the text of A Visit from St. Nicholas (read this year by Tim Allen) had been slightly altered. It appears that Disney has found it necessary to update the text due to societal values that had changed somewhat since the poem was originally written. The table below shows the text as read in the performance, along with the societal concern that necessitated adjusting the text.

Societal Concern Poem Text
  ‘T was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Rodent infestation Not a creature was stirring, including my spouse;
  The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
  In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
  The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Delusions; childhood obesity While dreams of organic food danced in their heads;
  And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Body part reference; cohabitation Got into separate beds for a long winter’s nap.
  When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Cohabitation I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Reference to character trademarked by D.C. Comics Away to the window I flew just like Dash,
Unintentionally funny wording Tore open the shutters and lifted the sash.
Adult content The moon on the chest of the new-fallen snow
  Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
  When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
  But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.
Ageism With a wise little driver, so lively and quick,
  I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
  More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
  And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.
Adult content “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Fixen!
Pagan deity; bad rhyme On, Comet! on, Newkid! on, Donder and Blixen!
  To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
  Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
Frightening natural disasters As dry leaves that before the wild summer breeze fly,
  When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
  So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
  With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
  And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
  The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
  As I drew in my head, and was turning ag’in,
Home invasion Down the chimney he came (I’d invited him in).
Animal cruelty He was dressed all in red, from his head to his foot,
Slovenliness And his clothes were untarnished by ashes and soot;
  A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
  And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
  His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
Ravages of alcoholism His cheeks were like roses, his nose was cute, very!
  His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
  And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
Smoking Some sugarless gum he held tight in his teeth,
More smoking And the fake fur encircled his head like a wreath;
Obesity He had a kind face and a typical belly,
Obesity That shook when he laughed at a joke you might tell-y.
Obesity; ageism; mythical creatures He was happy and well, so jolly and mature,
  And I laughed when I saw his distinctive nature;
Accidentally frightening Exorcist reference A wink of his eye and a turn of his head,
Potentially disquieting reference to "dread" Soon gave me to know I should go back to bed.
  He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Slapstick reference to physical disability And filled all the stockings like a careful clerk,
Behavior that shouldn’t be imitated And curling his finger so that it was bent,
  And giving a nod, up the chimney he went.
  He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
  And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
  But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
Cultural insensitivity “Happy holidays to all, and to all a good-night.”

We hasten to note that Disney made no changes at all to the story of the first Christmas (which was beautifully performed by Ahmed Best in the delightful, child-pleasing voice he used in the Star Wars prequels).