A Cure for the Post-Christmas Hangover

Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
Dec. 26 2012 1:45 PM

A Cure for the Post-Christmas Hangover

The Vault is Slate's new history blog. Like us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter @slatevault; find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here.

In Brown University's digital collection of temperance pamphlets and broadsides, this parody of Clement Moore's “A Visit from St. Nicholas” stands out for its relatively late publication date (circa 1941) and use of humor. Where many earlier temperance pamphlets leveraged the pathos of abandoned families to plead with drinkers to put a stop to their tippling, this poem reminded readers just how awful it could feel to overindulge.

In this topsy-turvy retelling of Moore's poem, the narrator's house is in a wreck after the Christmas revelries (“The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care—/The darn things were sprawled on the back of a chair”) and the parents don't look much better. The husband wryly tells us that after consuming “egg-nog and turkey and candy,” he “felt like the devil, and so did the spouse.”


Too much drinking and eating has turned the magic of Christmas into a nightmare. Santa, an “old devil,” calls his reindeer by the names of traitorous Christmas delicacies: “'Now Egg-Nog! Bacardi! Four Roses! and Brandy!/Now Fruit Cake! Cold Turkey! Gin Rickey! And Candy!'”

As the “reindeer” “whack away, crack away, with thumps that are dull” on the narrator's head, he makes an oath of temperance for the New Year: “You can have your rich victuals, and liquor that's red,/But what goes to my stomach won't go to my head.”

We don't know who wrote this clever parody, but it was donated to the Brown University Library by collector W. Easton Louttit.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.