Tag Archives: read-aloud Christmas story

Best Christmas Reads: The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

jessie wilcox smith santa 4Probably the single most popular Christmas book to read aloud to children, The Night before Christmas by Clement C Moore was first published in 1823. Originally titled A Visit from St. Nicholas theIMG_1554 poem significantly shaped the concept of our modern Santa Claus. There have been numerous editions illustrated by numerous artists; my favorites are the versions illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith and Arthur Rackham (available on Amazon.) New editions of this favorite appear every Christmas.

 If you don’t have a copy click here  


The Night Before Christmas with a fun twist


It’s a Christmas tradition in many families to read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve before a glowing fire while sipping cocoa and nibbling cookies. One year I added a little more…

 —First, I bought an over-sized version of the book, nicely illustrated for children.

—Next, I purchased or made items that were found within the story. The items were small, not particularly fancy, and not expensive.

—I gift-wrapped the book and each separate item. There were identical items for each child.

—That year as I read the story, we paused in the story-telling each time we reached a designated item, and each child opened the small corresponding gift.  

For instance the opening lines:

Twas the night before Christmas and all  through the house not a creature was
stirring not even a mouse” 
generated miniature wooden Christmas mice with red ears and tails. 

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.” “Sugarplums” I loosely interpreted as candy and each child received a small box of confections.

 I don’t remember now all the small gifts that were attached to the story but there were five or six. Granted some parts of the poem were easier to attach items to, but with a little imagination, and depending on how much time, energy, and money you want to invest, it’s a fun project for adults and the end result is extra fun for the kids on Christmas Eve. Think miniature, think ornaments, think doll-size, think dollar-store, and/or think home-made! And definitely think-outside-the-box!

 Some items found in the poem: mouse, sugarplums, stockings, and kerchief (interpret as bandana), nightcap, sleigh, 8 tiny reindeer, St. Nick\St. Nicholas, and whistle.