One of the best known poems in the English Language begins, “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house….” It is also one of the pieces of literature most imitated, parodied, and adapted. At my house we have Cajun Night Before Christmas that includes a pole-driving Santa in a skiff pulled by alligators named Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alceé, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste and Reneé.
We also read A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas, which begins:
Twas the night before Christmas about the Black Shark
Not a creature was stirring, not even a shark!
It ends with Santa saying, “Merry Christmas me buckos, an’ a Happy New Yaarghhhhhh!” What fun.
I enjoyed those so much I wanted to see what else was available. The results are far beyond what I imagined. An Amazon.com search for “The Night Before Christmas” yielded over 11,000 results. Included are Texas Night Before Christmas, Firefighters’ Night Before Christmas, Cowboys’ Night Before Christmas—even a Teacher’s Night Before Christmas (which I’m anxious to order)!
The web offers even more. Anyone for A Beatle’s Night Before Christmas or maybe A Florida Christmas? This website offers a whole assortment. The collection just needs one thing—an addition from you, your students, or your families.
This would be a fine time to think about parodies, at home or at school. You could share one or more of the parodies, compare them to the original, and evaluate which ones work better and why. Then think about what kind of parody would be appropriate in your area. What would a “Michigan Night Before Christmas” be like? Or maybe “A Michigan Night Before Cherry Picking?” Or a high school student’s “Night Before Finals”? In public schools, a Christmas-based assignment may not be appropriate, but there are non-Christmas “Night Before” options, and lots of other works to parody. I will admit to once writing a bad parody of “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” for professors at the end the term. It ended, “And piles to grade before I sleep….” and it is still appropriate.
Enjoy this time for flexible thinking and fun. And for those of you who are teaching, may your all your “piles to grade” be small ones.
PS See More Dino Silliness for another example.
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