Clement Clarke Moore, a wealthy landowner and gentleman scholar of biblical Hebrew and Greek penned the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (also known as "The Night Before Christmas" and "Twas the night before Christmas" which was first published anonymously in 1823. It is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-19th century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and that he brings toys to chidren. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas, and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus beyond the United Stated to the rest of the Anglosphere and the world.
'Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse