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The Parody Before Christmas

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"Happy Easter to all, and to all a good mid-to-late morning."
Fred O'Hare, Hop

The poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas has been an iconic poem for decades, so naturally, it attracts parodies, and that's what the Parody Before Christmas is.

They might change the setting (e.g. making it the day before Christmas, the night before Easter, or the night before a Fictional Holiday that may or may not be a You Mean "Xmas"), or replace Santa Claus with some other gift-giver. Regardless of who's giving the gifts, they'll often give gifts that suit the characters' personalities (giving the Big Eater food or the Hard-Drinking Party Girl alcohol for instance).

Expect a Title Drop at the beginning, a silly roll-call of "Now A, now B, now C and D" and a riff on the phrase "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night".

Compare Yet Another Christmas Carol, Gift of the Magi Plot, and How the Character Stole Christmas for other sorts of Christmas parody. Is often a Whole-Plot Reference or Parody Episode. Also compare Christmas Every Day, which is only sometimes a parody of a Christmas story. If it's specifically a spoof of the reindeer roll call with the wrong names delivered by accident, see Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Nixon. See also The Twelve Spoofs of Christmas, which gives a similar treatment to another Christmas song.

'Twas the night before Tropemas, and all through the examples...

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  • One Commodore 64 commercial for the Christmas season began with the line "T'was the night before Christmas, and there in the house, a kitten discovered the new Commodore's mouse."
  • Twas the Night of Chex Party Mix (from 1975).

    Comic Books 
  • A Twisted Christmas issue of Hitman had Tommy and Nat hunting a radioactive homicidal maniac in a Santa suit through Gotham in the dead of night, with narration as a parody of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas".

    Comic Strips 
  • A Garfield arc from 1983 has the poem's original lyrics printed at the top of each comic. Garfield makes commentary about the poem in each panel. The story arc revolves around Garfield meeting Santa while he's delivering presents. They get along well.
    Narration: The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads
    Garfield: Now gimme a vision of lasagna.
    Narration: And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap
    Garfield: This is my kind of story.
  • Luann had a Sunday strip where Luann's older brother Brad forgot to get her a Christmas present until the last minute, and shopped for auto parts for her on account of everywhere else being closed. The strip was narrated in the style of "The Night Before Christmas", to wit:
    Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for one louse.
  • Baby Blues had a story arc in 1993 parodying the poem, which, from Darryl's perspective, describes an attempt from him and Wanda to take baby Zoe to the mall to have her picture taken with a Mall Santa for Christmas cards. Unfortunately in the end, while the family is standing in an extremely long line, the guy playing Santa has finished his shift and is going to another mall.

    Fan Works 
  • This poem parodies 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and sets it in Star Trek: The Next Generation— Q shows up in Santa garb and gives Troi headache pills, Worf the passive-aggressive gift of breath mints, Geordi a blow-up doll, Wesley "hormones" and acne ointment, Data a joke book, Riker flowers, and Dr. Crusher underwear. As for Picard, Q didn't get him anything at all!

    Films — Animation 
  • Shrek the Halls: The entire special deals with the characters telling their own version of the story:
    • Donkey's version involves him wandering around in a Christmas-wonderland with a parade and lots of food. Santa himself is a giant statue made of waffle, which Donkey then eats.
    • Puss doesn't even get into the story, because he spends the whole time describing Santa as a "hot, Latin cat" and is then distracted by the fluff on the end of his hat.
    • Gingy's version is a horror story about himself and his girlfriend being terrorized by Santa while hanging out at a Make-Out Point.
    • Shrek's version feature himself as "Ogre-Claus", who shows up to make the house more disgusting, befitting an ogre-family Christmas.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hop ends with Fred saying, "Now Cheepers, now Peepers, now Biscuit and Fuzzy, now Chucky, now Plucky, now Feathers and Carlos" as the chicks pull him in a sleigh like reindeer.
  • In Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special, Jeff attempts to read the original poem to the audience, but Peanut keeps interjecting with his own versions, such as "with mama in her kerchief and I in my cap, had just settled down for a big snort of crack" and "he jumped to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle: 'Better go quick, 'cause there's a cop with a pistol.'"
  • In A Muppet Family Christmas, the Sesame Street cast put on a pageant version of the poem. Ernie is the narrator, Grover is the mouse (carrying a bowl and spoon to show that he's not stirring), Bert is the wife (and is not too happy about playing that role) and the Two-Headed Monster is Santa (causing Sam the Eagle to mutter "is nothing sacred?").

  • The children's picture book Cajun Night Before Christmas by James Rice was published in 1973. The setting is a Louisana bayou, the text is in Cajun dialect, and Santa arrives on a skiff pulled by eight friendly 'gators.
  • A Kiwi Night Before Christmas is basically The Night Before Christmas but with a boatload of National Stereotypes relating to New Zealand— Santa wears gumboots and his sleigh is drawn by sheep, he calls the main boy "mate", and possums are the animal that's not stirring.
  • The Night Before Twistmas is a parody of the classic poem set in the Moshi Monsters universe. Dr. Strangeglove and the Glumps take down all the Twistmas decorations, but are Easily Forgiven by the Santa Expy.
  • Politically Correct Holiday Stories includes "Twas the Night Before Solstice," in which a politically correct-minded family meet Santa Claus and judge him for his enslavement of reindeer and commercially-driven gifts. The poem ends with Santa expressing his exasperation.
    But with parting disdain, do you know what he said
    When this overweight huckster took off on his sled?
    This enslaver of reindeer, this exploiter of elves?
    "Merry Christmas to all, but get over yourselves!"
  • A Rugrats Night Before Christmas is a book based on Rugrats. The kids are awakened by Santa Claus's sleigh bells late at night and they sneak downstairs. He's delivering the gifts and Angelica's tempted to take all the presents for herself, but he shakes his head at her, so she admits they're for everyone. Santa smiles at her and departs, and as he leaves, he calls out, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, nighty-night!"
  • Stuart Little: The Littles rewrite 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to say, "Not a creature was stirring, not even a louse" instead of "mouse", since Stuart is an anthropomorphic mouse and they feel the poem's depiction of mice is "belittling".
  • The Dav Pilkey book 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving is about a classroom of kids going to a farm before Thanksgiving. They become friends with the turkeys, and when Farmer Mack Nuggett informs them that these turkeys will be cooked for dinner, they are all distraught. They then hide the turkeys under their shirts and take them home.
  • Hogfather has several references, starting with the back cover blurb, which begins "It's the night before Hogswatch. And it's too quiet". The opening line is also used in the text, except that a mouse is stirring, which is how the Death of Rats gets involved. And Death exhorts the wild boars that pull his sleigh by saying UP, GOUGER! UP, ROOTER! UP, TUSKER! UP, SNOUTER!, but to no effect.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Addams Family: In "Halloween With the Addams Family", the Addamses read a poem on Halloween that is clearly a spooky parody of "A Visit from St. Nicholas." For instance, it talks about hanging lanterns to guide "Sister Witch" and her team of vampire bats.

  • Bob Rivers wrote the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholson" about a man whose home is visited by Jack Nicholson as Santa Claus. Jack pulls up in a limo accompanied by the Los Angeles Lakers ("Now Magic, now Worthy, now Scott, and Kareem! On Cooper, on Rambis, and the rest of the team."), and after he gives out the presents he goes off on a rant about not being appreciated, throws the stockings in the fireplace, and torches the Christmas tree. The narrator thinks ruefully, "An age may unfold ere I fail to regret, that visit from St. Nicholson which I'd sooner forget."
  • Bobby Pickett's song "Monster's Holiday", a Christmas-oriented spinoff of "The Monster Mash", featured lyrics based on the poem.
    Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the castle
    My monsters were having a yuletide hassle
    The tree was all trimmed with ghoulish things
    Like werewolf fangs and vampire wings

  • The original poem that inspired The Nightmare Before Christmas was this: a dark story about what happens when Halloween meets Christmas. Though the only part of the poem to make it into the film proper was the title, "The Nightmare Before Christmas", the poem itself would be used in later Nightmare Before Christmas media. The poem would be read by the Ghost Host in the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay in the Disneyland attraction The Haunted Mansion, and the original poem received a narration from Christopher Lee and an animated short, which was featured in special features of the film's releases.
    'Twas the Nightmare before Christmas, and all through the house,
    Not a creature was peaceful, not even a mouse.
    The stockings, all hung from the chimney with care,
    when opened that morning, would cause quite a scare!
    The children, all nestled so snug in their beds,
    would have nightmares of monsters and skeleton heads!
  • "A Worm Quartet Christmas" rewrites the poem with Word Salad Lyrics:
    There, on the perfectly boneless horizon,
    A vomiting duck made me switch to Verizon

  • Minnesotan radio personality Clellan Card (aka Axel) recorded a version in the 1930s in a Scandinavian Funetik Aksent:
    It vas de night before Xmas, ven all tru de place vere I vas staying
    Dere vasn’t nobody making no noise, not eefen som mouses
    except my brudder-in-law and he is a rat.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Jeff Foxworthy has a redneck version called "'Twas the Night After Christmas" about a guy named Roy who gets visited by the sheriff after shooting at Santa Claus.

    Video Games 
  • Question 23 of The Impossible Quizmas starts with the opening lines of the poem, before thrusting the player into a Christmas-y living room without any instructions on what to do. The solution is to leave the cursor still for a few seconds; as the poem states, "not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse".

  • Bug Martini did one of these in which the narrator mistakes Santa for a burglar and promptly gets beaten up.
  • Full Frontal Nerdity had one for their An Ass-Kicking Christmas special.
  • xkcd also did one.
    'Twas the night before Christmas at my family's house.
    There were no sounds of stirring save the click of a mouse.
    For 'twas just like a childhood Christmas except
    I'd forgotten the hours that normal folks slept.

  • Neopets: One Christmas site theme came with the message "'Twas the week before Day of Giving when all through the site, not a Petpet was stirring, not even a Tigermouse. The stockings were stufftacular and hung with great care, in hopes that a holiday theme would be near; when out in the preferences there arose such a clatter. So, go take a look, to see what's the matter!"

    Web Original 
  • This website collects a whopping 849 different versions that made the rounds on internet message boards in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Many of them are copied from earlier sources, but most make fun of early internet culture.

    Web Videos 
  • Nostalgia Critic: In the review of the 1986 film version of Babes in Toyland, the Critic makes a joke when he sees that Santa Claus is played by Pat Morita, having him call his deer "Now, Egg Roll! Now, Fried Rice! Now, Mushu with ham! On Wonton, on Dumpling, and Moo Goo Gai Pan!"
  • Twisted Translations: In "Google Translate Ruins 'Twas the Night Before Christmas", Malinda recites the poem, alongside a version of the poem that's been butchered by Google Translate. The translated version is something of a Dark Parody, containing lines like "His team was bleeding" and "He stuck his head in the oven".

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs has "The Day Before Christmas", in which Ralph, with a sleigh drawn by the gangster pigeons, delivers presents to the Warner siblings.
  • The Danny Phantom Christmas Episode "The Fright Before Christmas" takes this to extreme when, after Danny provokes the wrath of the Ghost Writer by destroying his Christmas poem, the ghostly writer traps Danny in a new poem. For added fun, almost all the dialogue said is spoken in rhyme, much to Danny's chagrin.
  • Johnny Bravo: The short "Twas the Night" deals with Johnny Subbing for Santa after he mistook him for a burglar and attacked him.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas", Princess Morbucks goes to the North Pole to switch the names on the Naughty and Nice Lists so she can trick Santa Claus into granting her wish of being a Powerpuff Girl. The Narrator speaks in rhymes throughout the special, and he opens it with this:
    Narrator: 'Twas the city of Townsville, and all through the town, all the townsfolk are stirring as snow's falling down. It's bitter and freezing in the dead of December, but there's reason for joy, if you can remember, for it's this time of year that our story unfolds, when our hearts are the warmest, despite all the cold. Yes, it is Christmas, just two days before, and all through the town, none can wait anymore...for the timely arrival of one certain fat guy...who brings us all goodies from out of the sky. Full of anticipation are these urban folks, none more so than the students at old Pokey Oaks.

But I heard him exclaim, as he rode out of sight,
”Happy Tropemas to all, and don’t ruin your life!”