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DMA Night Before Christmas

December 24, 2014
"Regimental Oak" shape dinner plate with "Christmas Tree" pattern, Designer: Harold Holdway, 1938, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stephen Harrison in honor of George Roland

“Regimental Oak” shape dinner plate with “Christmas Tree” pattern, Designer: Harold Holdway, 1938, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Stephen Harrison in honor of George Roland

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the DMA
Not a painting was stirring–not the Matisse, nor Monet;
The Copley portraits were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The staff were busy working away at their desks
On visions of Late Night and art class they obsessed.
When out on the Concourse there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

Away to the entrance I flew like a flash,
Past paintings and drawings and statues I dashed.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

Diego Rivera, Peasant Woman, 1946, Dallas Museum of Art, Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Lewis

Diego Rivera, Peasant Woman, 1946, Dallas Museum of Art, Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Lewis

A bundle of gifts he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his duties.
Fancy new hats for the Soyer shoppe beauties,
A new shell for Vishnu, a rug for the Reves,
And for Ivy in Flower, three sparkling new leaves.

A scythe and some seeds for the Vincent van Gogh,
A nice plate of dinner for Fox in the Snow.
Two cozy pillows for the old Gothic bed,
For mantle with condors some lovely new thread.

From the top floor to the bottom, he silently worked,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.
“No touching the art!” he wisely exclaimed,
“Just use your eyes to explore frame by frame.”*

He checked off each artwork on his large museum chart,
Gave a sigh and a nod, “It’s time to depart.”

Berenice Abbot, Untitled (Reindeer), print 1983, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Morton and Marlene Meyerson

Berenice Abbot, Untitled (Reindeer), print 1983, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Morton and Marlene Meyerson

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight.
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

*That Santa–even when he is hard at work, he remembers the Museum rules!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very merry holiday!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Early Learning Programs

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