Photo courtesy of the Reef2Reef archives, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a wrasse;
The stockings were hung on the live rock with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The fishes were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of surge buckets danced in their heads;
Mantis shrimp rested to polish their parts,
While clams opened mantles for the meals soon to start.

When outside of the house there arose such a clatter,
The fish swam from their caves to see what was the matter.
Away to the window the human flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to his wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

A cold breeze wafted in from the human's front door,
While Santa gave his reindeer a needed what-for.
"Get up on this house, boys, as fast as you can.
In this place there are fishes, and a special sea fan."

"The cold is not good for the livestock inside;
We'll wait by the tank," the human replied.
"Get ready, my beauties, we're in for a feast.
Santa has mollusc treats already pieced."

And then, in a twinkling, they heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As an eel ventured out, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
But scales you could see on his face and his hands.
And his red hat was covered with snowflakes and sand.

His coat back was roomy and held a big dorsal fin.
And the aquarium fishes all had a grin.
"It's Santa," they said, "And he's one of us!"
"Some must be ashamed, after voicing mistrust."

Some sawblade caulerpa, he held in his teeth.
Braided sargasso and chaeto he would leave as a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
Water pooled when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave them to know they had nothing to dread;
The presents were tumbling all on the floor,
There were pellets, and black worms, and Selcon galore.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
He glanced at the tank and gave a sly smile.
"Santa comes to the reef! And always in style."

Before leaving he stopped at the tank for look.
Reaching into a pocket, he took out a prayer book.
"Bless the crabs, and the corals, the gobies and clowns,
And bless this house and its owners, I'll see you around."

He stuck his head in the water, and filled up his chest,
Then he turned to the chimney to continue his quest.
He waved to the livestock and told them goodbye.
"Keep the story of Santa alive in your fry."

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But they heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,


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Note from the Editor:

This poem was originally written by Clement Clarke Moore, published in 1883, and was titled, "A Visit from St. Nicholas." I hope he would enjoy our own version.