“Stopping by Woods” is about Santa Claus

For this Christmas blog post, I would like to suggest that the famous poem by Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, is actually about Santa Claus.

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Let’s take a look at the poem before we analyze it:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Who is this strange man who has stopped in someone else’s woods at night, on a snowy evening? What are all these promises he has to keep? Why so many miles to travel?

The “darkest evening of the year” would be the 21st of December. But perhaps Frost has taken some liberties here. “The third darkest evening of the year” doesn’t quite fit in the established meter, and isn’t quite as neat.

The harness bells evoke a reindeer, and the animal appears in a stanza rhyming on queer/near/year. Is “reindeer” being playfully implied by rhyme?

In the third stanza, the animal is asking about a mistake, which the speaker has stopped in the woods to check. He is checking the list (a second time).

The opening stanza introduces our speaker, and it rhymes on know/though/snow. Playfully implying “ho-ho-ho” through rhyme?

This is a poem about Santa Claus.

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