The poem The Night Before Christmas has become so much a part of Christmas that its hard to imagine the holiday without it. Originally published as an Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas, it appeared in 1823 in the newspaper, the Troy Sentinel. It has since been reprinted hundreds of times, acted out on stage, and read over the radio and on film and CD. The author, CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE, is said to have written the poem for his children on Christmas Eve, 1822. Our modern image of Santa Claus as a bearded, plump, jolly figure can be traced back to Moores famous description of St. Nick: He had a broad face, and a little round belly, that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.