The Night Before Christmas

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The holidays can be a time of great joy -- and great anguish. In this special episode of MarketFoolery, Chris Hill talks about the sudden loss of a colleague, and then continues in the MarketFoolery tradition by signing off with a recording of Louis Armstrong's reading of Clement Moore's A Visit From St. Nicholas.

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A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Dec. 23, 2017.

Chris Hill: It's Saturday, December 23rd. Welcome to MarketFoolery! I'm Chris Hill. Just me in the studio. A few quick words before we get to something we've done for the last couple of years. We've gotten a bunch of new listeners the last 12 months. I don't have the exact numbers. I say that based on how frequently it seems like we've gotten comments from people on Twitter or in our Facebook group -- which you can join, Motley Fool Podcasts -- email, even in person at official Motley Fool events, or just a couple of weeks ago when we were taping Motley Fool Money at a restaurant in D.C., and a couple of the guys I were talking with said they had just started listening in the last month or so, which is great. So, that means, for those new listeners, this is their first time listening to MarketFoolery in December when we do the holiday music. We do that, we've done that for the last three years, because it's fun. The conventional wisdom about holiday music can be found on your broadcast radio. It's the same 50 songs over and over on a loop, and they're fine, but there's so much great music out there. And, by the way, when people hit me up on Twitter or email and say, "Thank you for this song or that song!", "Thank you for Tom Waits! You played Tom Waits and it made me so happy!", that's Dan Boyd. That's producer Dan Boyd. I suggest a song or two here or there, but Dan is the one making all the music work this holiday season. If you want the list of songs, just drop us an email -- MarketFoolery@fool.com, we will send you the list.

The holiday season can be so joyous and so much fun, and it can also be a tough time. And if you've ever gone through a rough patch in your life that coincides with the holidays, you know what I'm talking about. And if you've ever lost someone close to you, the holidays can be tough. And this year, quite recently, we lost someone at The Motley Fool. Sam Davidson worked here at The Motley Fool for the last five years. He managed our infrastructure team that deals with networks and servers. And I didn't work with Sam all that closely, because they're smart enough to keep me far away from important equipment like networks and servers. But the thing about Sam was, you didn't need to work closely with him to know what kind of person he was. Sam was very quick to smile and say hello. He was very quick to offer his help. He had a generous spirit. He didn't live close to Fool HQ, but he volunteered in his community, and also volunteered with The Carpenter's Shelter here in Alexandria. Sam Davidson was one of those people who made the world a better place. And he went to the doctor back in October for some tests, and they discovered that he had Stage IV cancer. And the only thing they could do was just try to make him as comfortable as possible. And a few weeks later, Sam was gone. He was 37 years old. He left behind a wife and two teenage kids. And as much as we miss Sam and wish you were here, it is a fraction of how much they do.

I know from my own experience that the holidays are tough when you lose someone close to you. I also know that, thankfully, slowly, over time, it gets a little easier. And it's not because you miss that person any less. It's because a part of them that was special stays with you forever. So, this holiday season, please take a moment and think about the special people from your life who are no longer here but live on in your heart, and then take another moment, and drop a note or give a call to someone special who maybe you haven't been in touch with for a while. Just to say hello, just to let them know you were thinking about them.

With that, as we have done for the last couple of years, and since we're close to Christmas Eve, we leave you with the late, great Louis Armstrong, who lives forever, reading Clement Moore's classic poem, A Visit From St. Nicholas.

Louis Armstrong: This is Louis Satchmo Armstrong, talking to all the kids from all over the world at Christmas time.

'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 my 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 a lustre of midday to objects below,

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.

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, Donder 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 twinkle, 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! H is 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 bowl 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!"

A very good night! And that goes for Satchmo, too. Thank you!

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