”Twas the Night Before Christmas’: A Multiple Sclerosis Parody

The holiday traditions at this columnist's household don't leave out the MS

Benjamin Hofmeister avatar

by Benjamin Hofmeister |

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The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year. Multiple sclerosis (MS), of course, has a way of sucking the joy out of anything, but it can’t have my family’s Christmas.

I might miss sleeping in, but our three boys have really brought the magic of the season to our home. As one of our traditions, we read “A Visit From St. Nicholas” or “The Night Before Christmas” every Christmas Eve. I thought this year I’d put a little twist on it, so with profound apologies to Clement Clarke Moore or maybe Henry Livingston Jr., here you are.

This photo shows a man in a Santa hat, holding the book "The Night Before Christmas" in his hands. A Christmas tree is behind him, and a poinsettia is visible on a mantel over his shoulder. He's sitting, has a blond, graying beard, and wears a green T-shirt with a Santa hat on it.

Ben reads the original. (Photo by Michala Hofmeister)

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‘Twas the night before Christmas,
and I was a mess.
With last minute wrapping — and PPMS.

The stockings were hung right where they’re s’posed to be.
Family’s on mantle, compression on me.

The kids were in bed and maybe asleep.
I kept my head on a swivel in case one should peep.

My wife in her slippers and I in my chair
Were prepping the room like Santa’d been there.

When from the kitchen there arose such a clatter.
She sprang to her feet to see what was the matter.

Santa’s goodies and dish hit the floor down below.
When my numb, fumbling fingers had let the plate go.

Then down like a thunderbolt other symptoms they came
I snarled and cursed them and called them by name.

Ouch! spasms and weakness, diplopia woes.
Now brain fog and numbness and tingling toes!

Now isn’t the time! I don’t need all this crap!
Why couldn’t this hit me at 2 when I nap?

Wife was there in an instant with ribbons of silk.
Said, “It could’ve been worse. Least it wasn’t the milk.”

“You’re fine, the plate’s fine, so everything’s cool.
Put the cookies back on it. Five-second rule.”

I put them in place and thought, “Wait a tick!
It’ll be my tooth marks on them, not those of St. Nick.”

I quickly dismissed it. Three kids made me tough.
All boys, so ’round here, mostly clean’s clean enough.

We fell back to our work and finished completely.
I even wrapped my own presents, just not very neatly.

I laid them all down as close as could be
To our less than wheelchair-accessible tree.

We admired, all breathless, like we’d taken a jog.
And my wife said, “Well done. You’ve earned some eggnog.”

After libations and one little snack,
I was helped into bed and tucked into the sack.

Then I said to the air as she turned out the light,
“Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

Many thanks for reading my column this year. Feel free to add your own lines to my irreverent parody in the comments.

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Jenny avatar


I like this very much. Chuckled and smiled.
Have so much fun with your family, and some peaceful moments too.

Benjamin Hofmeister avatar

Benjamin Hofmeister

Merry Christmas Jenny! Thanks for reading. So glad you enjoyed it!

Kim Ahmed avatar

Kim Ahmed

Superb! Couldn’t agree more. We just do with what we have. Merry Christmas to you & your family!

Benjamin Hofmeister avatar

Benjamin Hofmeister

I've never gotten "superb" before! Thanks Kim and Merry Christmas!

Eileen avatar


Loved it! Thank you, when the choice is to laugh or cry, I hope to always choose laughter! Merry Christmas to all!

Benjamin Hofmeister avatar

Benjamin Hofmeister

Thanks Eileen! Merry Christmas to you too!

jan mackie avatar

jan mackie

😍 loved it…as a ms (for 25 years) now cripple etc connected with jokes and cleverly written! Merry Xmas and holiday season.
Jan from b.c. canada

Artanis avatar


Oh so witty! So clever! Be proud of yourself!
'Least you wit is still proof 'gainst the dread MS Elf!

Mary Walker avatar

Mary Walker

Loved it! Reminiscent of the big room rhymes and shenanigans! Love you❤️

Jane avatar


Made me giggle. Happy Christmas and New Year.

Luce avatar


I loved this so much as well and agree laughter probably better option when to cry to easy option. We laugh, we cry but very important to be around family at these times. Keep your up with your cheerful ideas that bring strength to us all Benjamin

Benjamin Hofmeister avatar

Benjamin Hofmeister

And here I thought I got my strength from all of you. Thanks Luce!



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