A Spanglish Night Before Christmas

I hope the author of this fantastic poem doesn’t mind me posting this. We all know “The Night Before Christmas”, but check out this version which I discovered in the pages of a book called “Wáchale!: Poetry and Prose on Growing Up Latino Today”.

Twas the Noche
by María Eugenia Morales

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa

Not a creature was stirring, caramba! Qué pasa?

Los niños were tucked away in their camas

Some in vestidos and some in pijamas.

While Mamá worked in her little cocina,

El viejo was down at the corner cantina.

The stockings were hanging with mucho cuidado,

In hopes that Saint Nicholas would feel obligado

To bring all the children both buenos and malos

A nice bunch of dulces and other regalos

Outside in the yard, there arose such a grito

That I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito

I ran to the window and looked afuera,

And who in the world do you think that it era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero

Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh, instead of venados,

Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre

Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:

‘Ay Chato! Ay Pepe! Ay Cuca! Ay Beto!

Ay Pancho! Ay Chopo! Maruca y Nieto!’

Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho,

He flew to the top of our very own techo!

With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,

He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea,

Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,

With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala;

He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,

For none of the niños had been very malos.

Then chuckling along, seeming very contento,

He turned like a flash and was gone like el viento.

And I heard him exclaim and this is verdad,

‘Merry Christmas to all, Feliz Navidad!’


    • @ Sylvia – I really love this version, too. I wish they’d make it into a children’s book with illustrations. I can just imagine the hilarity :)

  1. very fun!

    (you are helping my spanish by leaps and bound BTW)

    I LOVE that Bonito song!!!! But when I look up “bonito” on Bebelfish, it says it means “tuna”! Really??? Is that happy song about a fish?

    • @ Pol – I’m glad this blog is helping your Spanish. To be honest, it’s been a great outlet and reinforcement for my language skills, too.

      I think your Babelfish is broken. LOL. The most common translation of the word, “Bonito” is “Pretty”, but in some context, it sounds better translated as “Beautiful”, (Since in Spanish you might say a boy is “bonito” but in English it sounds rather weird to say he is “pretty”.)

      The word for “tuna” is “atún” — not even close to “bonito”, so I’m quite baffled as to why your Babelfish steered you wrong!

    • @ Carrie – Anything for my readers ;)

      LOL, seriously, If Ms. María Eugenia Morales comes upon this, please know I think you’re very talented and would love to see more from you, (I Googled and couldn’t find anything else. Very disappointed!) Free spot for you in my sidebar if you’ve got a book and want help spreading the word :)

  2. This is wonderful! I read it the first time and tried to find the similarities but then i read it a second time and it filled me up with joy! I would love to see this out at a public elementary reading it to some kinder gardeners!

  3. Thank you. I am retired Spanish radio DJ and I used to read this on Christmas program in El Paso Tx. WAYYYY back in the ’70s. Still love it and now read it to my Grandboys We are bilingual.

  4. I am almost 80 and remember this from my girlhood in Argentina. I googled it to read to my great granddaughters, so delighted to find it! Thanks

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