A Visit from St Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas from its first line, is a poem first published anonymously in 1823 and generally attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, although the claim has also been made that it was written by Henry Livingston Jr.
The poem, which has been called "arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American", is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably.
Our current image of Santa is also often attributed to none other than Coca-Cola, however this is a myth. It is true that at the beginning of the 1930s, the burgeoning Coca-Cola company was looking for ways to increase sales of its product during winter (then a slow time of year for the soft drinks market). They turned to a talented commercial illustrator, Haddon Sundblom, who created a series of memorable drawings (just think of the Coca-Cola adverts now back on our TV screens). However, this modern image of Santa was already documented.
Regardless of how the current image of Santa came to be, with presents to buy, large family meals to organise and numerous parties to attend, the Christmas season might be special, but at times it can also seem arduous. Not to mention extremely expensive.
As a result of another difficult year for personal finances – and with continued uncertainty regarding the economic outlook for 2013 and beyond – the usual costs of Christmas might feel even less welcome than usual.
It is this time of year, with the credit card bills looming in January, that many people become more worried than usual about being able to save enough for the future and planning for retirement, and at the same time are worried about the effect the festive season will have on their finances. It might seem as though it has to remain low down your priority list right now, but if you are concerned about whether you are on course to achieve your financial aspirations – or are dissatisfied with the performance of your savings and investments – the New Year could be the perfect time to put the wheels in motion towards addressing it. It could just be the best New Year's resolution you ever make!
Investment and pension advice can of course be obtained by using the contact details below, and given the opening to this article, it would only be right, that I end by saying: "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
PS. Pension annuity awareness campaign – A recent survey showed that those people who spend time comparing different annuity providers gain an average of 21% more than their original retirement quote – equivalent to approximately £248 extra a year on the average £25,000 pension pot. This can be even higher if medically-enhanced options are appropriate. Anyone looking to receive a retirement income should consider 'shopping around', and can do so by using the contact details below.
Send your personal finance queries to Weekend Money, Shipman Financial Planning Ltd, 1 Barnfield Crescent, Exeter, EX1 1QY, telephone 01392 278491 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is for general information only and reflects the views of the author only. You should seek professional advice in respect of your own circumstances. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Shipman Financial Planning is a highly respected IFA offering personal service and innovative advice.