Posted on

Twas the Night before Christmas

Christmas tree Ridgewood NJ


photo by Boyd Loving

Twas the Night before Christmas 

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

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!”

Clement Clarke Moore (1799 – 1863) came from a prominent family and his father Benjamin Moore was the Bishop of New York who was famous for officiating at the inauguration of George Washington. The tradition of reading Twas the night before Christmas poem on Christmas Eve is now a Worldwide institution and tradition.

Clement Clarke Moore (1779 – 1863) wrote the poem Twas the night before Christmas also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas” in 1822. It is now the tradition in many American families to read the poem every Christmas Eve.

The poem ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!

Clement Moore, the author of the poem Twas the night before Christmas, was a reticent man and it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was that the author of Twas the night before Christmas was to remain anonymous. The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry.

Posted on

Ridgewood Chamber Annual 33nd Downtown for the Holidays

The Ridgewood Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Mark your calendars (it is early) for this annual traditional Ridgewood Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration…..FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2018…5:30-9pm
rain or shine…

You do not have to go to NYC to see the lighting of a huge Christmas Tree…this is a locally grown Ridgewood Tree.

Join this “traditional” celebration Friday, November 30, 2018 5:30-7pm .E. Ridgewood Ave will be filled with Holiday music and entertainment.
Santa will be in Van Neste Park for the little ones. While waiting for Santa, listen to Cider Sing and Tasting.

Continue reading Ridgewood Chamber Annual 33nd Downtown for the Holidays

Posted on

Merry Christmas from the Ridgewood blog


photo by ArtChick 

PJ Blogger and the entire staff of the Ridgewood blog would like to Wish you a very Merry Christmas!

We also would like thank, you our readers , advertisers , patrons and supporters for all your contributions this year !

Posted on

Dog poop, GPS trackers and security cameras: Cracking down on Christmas package thieves


file photo by Boyd Loving

They operate in the middle of the day, when many residents are at work and the delivery vans are making their rounds.

They tend to follow FedEx, UPS and U.S. mail workers down streets, on the lookout for packages they can nab. Some even dress in uniforms to avoid suspicion.

As Internet retailers make big gains against shopping malls this holiday season, “porch pirates” have been out in force stealing their piece of the pie.

Customers are increasingly using Amazon, EBay and other retailers to buy goods they previously purchased in stores — especially around Christmas, when UPS delivers more than 30 million packages per day in the week before the holiday.

Posted on

In a Christmas and New Year greetings Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes President-elect Donald J. Trump will restore the framework of bilateral cooperation

Trump Merry Christmas

December 24,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, yesterday President-elect Donald J. Trump released the following statement in response to the attached letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct. I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”

Posted on

FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN Tax increase to hit Ridgewood Homeowners sooner than expected

home alone


December 21,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, In the most recent Ridgewood Public Schools rps.eNews the Ridgewood Board of Education delivered the news that due to “unintended consequences” of the state changing school elections to November, and also state budget software restrictions, the additional $929,800 tax increase approved on the full-day Kindergarten ballot question must be collected immediately.

To rectify, the district will then lower the 2017-18 budget by $929,800, and restore that budget amount in the third year and forward. Understanding that this situation is a consequence of not updating the state statutes and codes when the school elections were shifted to November, the state will now revise the laws to eliminate this issue for other towns going forward.

Posted on

The Nagging Questions We Ask Ourselves at the End Of Each Year


December 20,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Each year, when December comes rolling in, so do the inner doubts and reflections that are part of our year-end experience.

Did I succeed? Has my business or career grown? Is my family happy and healthy? Do I have enough money to get them the gifts they want?

All these questions are nagging at me as I run from one Christmas party to the next. I can’t help but wonder why success is measured by our society in tangibles… I cannot measure my success in tangibles, nor do I want to, as this is not in sync with my passions or my values.

For me, success is measured by the intangible not by the tangibles we think we see! What does that mean? The tangibles we see are the big house or car that you already physically own. We think these things matter because of others’ expectations of what we should have to be successful and to be of a certain social standing. Having these tangibles is then a way to prove to others and yourself that you have succeeded.

This brings me straight back to the nagging questions I have about success and how we measure ourselves and others.

As I watch my colleagues talk about their accomplishments of the past year, I see a picture in my distant memory of a mother decorating a tree. Christmas, too, is about intangibles… For my family, Christmas was steeped in traditions; however, the only thing I truly recall was the gift of being together, thus the intangible… When did Christmas become such a big industry that we as families have become a slave to it?

We seem to focus so much on giving and receiving tangible gifts that we forget that they will not be remembered. Think back to your childhood while reading this and you will remember the smiling faces among the things that you treasured, but not really what was in the wrapped presents!

Sadly, this truth is not reflected in our talk and in our actions. Your child will go back to school after the holidays and teachers and friends will immediately ask “What did you get?” and not “How was your Christmas?”

Today, there is so much pressure on every member in a family to outshine everyone around you at work or school that I truly feel sad for those that forget that there are so many things we cannot see but they are there. They truly matter!

Here are a few examples of intangibles that matter every day: knowing that you can count on that one person to help you through difficult times. Every child who knows deep down that their parents will help them even if they are mad! Or what about the immense satisfaction a mother feels when her child takes those first few steps. Or the ability you have to put a smile on someone’s face, just because you can! In all our milestones, having someone encourage us as if we were an athlete crossing the finish line. That happy face in the crowd that clapped just a bit louder than everyone else… That, ladies and gentlemen, is success—when we have that one friend or relative who gives us courage to be ourselves!

How others make you feel cannot be seen but boy—can you feel it! All these examples are intangible—not evident, untouchable, we cannot see them. But that does not mean they don’t exist. In fact, I wish that people paid more attention to the intangible. Why?

If you ask any human being who they value the most, they almost always answer family. Then I ask what do they value most, even though geography, culture, and personal values might influence the answer to this question, the overall response I have heard the most is “some form of security.” Which often equates back to family.

So is success then not logically how each individual values and cares for their families and friends?

At the end of a person’s life, don’t we consider a person successful, not by their job, but by how well they treated their family and friends?

Set aside your self-doubt, the nagging questions, and dump the pressure to look good, and instead count the family members and your friends who are in your life. Your relationship with each individual and the joy it brings can be the new measure of your success!

So during this month of giving, forget for one moment all of the materialistic gifts—the tangibles that we obsess too much over—and try to concentrate on giving as many intangible gifts as you can to everyone around you. The gift of yourself, being there, listening, laughing, being truly present are the gifts that matter most and that will be truly remembered.

A few action points if you would like to give the gift of the intangible:

1. If you are a parent and have adult children, write down a short story of something your child did when they were younger that moved you and that is locked in your memory forever!

2. If you are a parent of a child, you can suggest they make a coupon book for you instead of a tangible gift. For example, they can give you a coupon with breakfast in bed. Or a coupon where they clean out your room!

3. If you are a friend searching for the perfect intangible gift to give another friend, share a fond memory together that you hold dear. The receiver will sit in awe hearing it!


The leading voice of the Kindness movement, Gabriella van Rij ( is a speaker, author & activist for kindness whose presentations blend humor, original analogies and her life story to create a rare perspective-shifting experience that speaks to all and that provides the tools audiences need for more productive relationships. Gabriella has been seen by millions on Dr. Phil, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX.

Posted on

The 12 Nights of Christmas


file photo by Boyd Loving


Have you heard of The 12 Nights of Christmas? Also known as Secret Santa, I came across this concept years ago while reading “In Search of the Real Spirit of Christmas” by Dan Schaeffer. In the back was a chapter describing his family tradition modeled after the 12 days of Christmas. Beginning on December 13 and ending on Christmas Eve, the family left a treat along with a cute poem on a neighbor’s porch every evening. The whole idea was to teach kids that giving was just as fun as receiving.

Twelve nights sneaking around the neighborhood playing ding dong ditch? How fun! I especially loved the idea of helping my kids learn the joys of giving at such an impressionable age. And so that December gave birth to a new family tradition for the Fells.

Now our oldest daughter was away at college and our teenage son was busy with high school activities, so that left our two youngest as santas. As I explained what we were embarking on and why, they were thrilled with the idea of sneaking around the neighborhood for any reason. At age 10, our daughter much preferred to be an elf as she was female and Santa was, well, male. But with her 8-year-old brother as Santa, an elf’s superior, that wouldn’t do either. To keep the village peace, we became elves instead of Santas.

Now as a family of six, we were on a budget. Armed with a shopping list, my first stop was our local dollar store. Thankfully, this was our only stop—everything we needed was there. Taking home our supplies, we got to work printing the poems and preparing the bags while the kids giggled at the notion of 12 nights of mischief over Christmas vacation.

It was already December, and the first night was fast approaching. Fairly new to the neighborhood, we discussed who should be the lucky neighbor. A couple months earlier, I heard that Neighbor Tom had lost his wife to cancer. She was well loved by all who knew her, and I couldn’t imagine what the holidays must be like for Tom and their two children. To my mind, it was clear that Tom’s home could use small doses of nightly cheer. The kids quickly agreed, and the matter was settled.

On the evening of December 13, my two elves giggled nervously as we bundled up and headed out into the night. Sneaking through the quiet snow-filled streets of our neighborhood with a flashlight was as magical for the kids as it was for me; I treasured our memories in the making. Also, I had never realized just how quiet—and beautiful—the cold, deserted streets were at night. It was like another world waited for us each evening, a peaceful, enchanting winter wonderland that could only be experienced on foot. The magic was heightened when the kids giggled over my clumsiness in the dark. Note to self: Get more flashlights.


T’was the first night of Christmas

And all through your house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Except suddenly one little soul did appear

It’s your Little Elf, and he brings holiday cheer!

Tonight it’s a partridge for your pear tree

And tomorrow, who knows, You must wait and see

So turn on your porch light each evening with care

And know that your gift soon will be there

But don’t try to catch him or he’ll disappear!


Upon returning home from our adventure each evening, we warmed our hands around a mug of hot cocoa, and warmed our hearts around the whim that our nightly surprises might bring cheer to Tom’s family.

The next eleven nights flew by and soon it was Christmas Eve, the 12th day when we had to reveal our identity. I suddenly became nervous. I had never actually met Tom, and worried that maybe our nightly gifts had been a bit too much for the family’s fragile emotions. But there was no backing down now; we had to finish. That afternoon we arranged a dozen homemade treats on a small holiday plate, covered it with red plastic wrap, taped the final poem to the top and—not trusting my children to walk two blocks with a plate of goodies—we drove to Tom’s house. We climbed out of the car, gathered on his front porch, and I rang the doorbell.

Twelve drummers drumming,

they play a happy beat

For this should fill your tummy,

it’s your Christmas treat!


We had such a good time,

being your friend

We’re really sorry our visit must end.

So we wish you a wonderful Christmas day

And a year free of troubles, for this we’ll pray.


When Tom opened the door, we nervously started singing:

We wish you a merry Christmas

We wish you a merry Christmas

We wish you a merry Christmas,

and a happy new year!


Well, I ended up singing that cheery first verse by myself because my elves stood glued to the porch with mouths frozen shut. Realizing I was on my own and because my children say I’m tone deaf, I quickly decided that one verse was more than enough for this poor family.

As soon as I stopped singing I realized that Tom and his two children had tears in their eyes! Oh, dear. Was my voice that bad, or was our entire mission just one big flop?

Quickly, I decided the best way to handle this was to explain that we were the Little Elves responsible for the nightly treats, and then leave the poor family alone. After all, it was Christmas Eve and here we were intruding on their fragile emotions.

But I soon discovered that I had nothing to fear at all: they were crying because of how much they loved the little gifts, and now it was coming to an end! It turns out that Tom and his children not only enjoyed the element of surprise, but the nightly anticipation was a wonderful respite from the constant sadness, and lifted their spirits. Mission accomplished!

That first year proved a wonderful experience and we continued the tradition, choosing a different neighbor each year, until tragedy struck our own family. In 2009, my 15-year-old elf, Aly, died in a car accident while coming home from a swim meet. Caught in my own fog of grief, I had no reserve left in my tank to carry on our family fun with our youngest. With a broken heart, our once beloved tradition came to an unexpected end.

In the years since losing Aly, in fits and starts our family has learned to laugh and feel joy again but I’ve never forgotten how bleak those first holidays felt.

I’ve also learned that helping others helps my own heart to heal.

Now that our grandson is 9—the perfect age to become an elf—reinstating the old family tradition will offer both giver and receiver a nightly dose of good cheer, and enrich our holidays in magical ways just as it did in years past. I already know who this year’s lucky neighbor will be, and our gift bags are assembled and ready for delivery starting December 13.

Project Little Elf was inspired by that first year with Tom and his children. Having faced loss since then, I now fully understand how the holidays can feel less than cheery, and how a little kindness can go a long way. And nobody needs it more than the bereaved facing their first holidays.

If you too would like to teach your children how to be givers of kindness and learn the joys of giving, all the instructions and printables to begin your own family tradition can be found at

Above all, the nightly trips to a neighbor’s porch is more than just a little fun. It holds the promise of magical memories for children of all ages, and gives the bereaved the priceless gift of a heart full of cheer they’ll treasure all year.

Happy holidays!

Posted on

Serendipity Labs, Ridgewood is an official Toys for Tots donation location this holiday season!

Toys For Tots

December 10,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, Serendipity Labs, Ridgewood is an official Toys for Tots donation location this holiday season!

Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which aims to deliver, through a new toy at the holidays, a message of joy and hope to less fortunate children and families. The toys collected at the Ridgewood Serendipity Labs will go toward children in our local community.

If you would like to donate, a collection box for new, unwrapped toys can be found in the first floor Serendipity Labs Café through December 17th!

Private Offices • Coworking • Team Rooms • Event Space

The Serendipity Labs Ridgewood is located in the newly renovated, historic Lincoln office building directly across from the Ridgewood train station. Walk to the train, restaurants, shops and all that this iconic town has to offer.

Premium memberships range from private offices, coworking and meeting and event space for a wide variety of business professionals looking for a unique and collaborative work environment.

Get in touch with Serendipity Labs Ridgewood:

Staff-Assisted Hours: M–F, 8:30am-5:30pm
45 N Broad St
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Call Cheryl at (201) 574-1001