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New York Christmas tree, 1941
A Christmas tree at night in New York City around 1941

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Clement Moore Is Believed to Have Written "A Visit from St. Nicholas"
December 24, 1822

He was inspired by the plump, bearded Dutchman who took him by sleigh on his errand through the snow-covered streets of New York City. Moore's vision of St. Nicholas draws upon Dutch-American and Norwegian traditions of a magical, gift-giving figure that appears at Christmas time. It also is based on the German legend of a visitor who enters homes through chimneys. Clement Moore knew of such folklore as a learned man of literature. He was born into a well-respected New York family in 1779. His father, Benjamin Moore, had served as president of Columbia University and Episcopal bishop of New York, participating in the inauguration of George Washington as the nation's first president.
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