Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas poem - illustration of Santa lifting weights
One of the all-time classic christmas poems about a man's encounter with Santa Claus.
Twas the Night Before Christmas

 

Vintage illustration of stockings and hearth for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas storiesTwas 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;

Vintage illustration of sleeping child for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

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,

Vintage illustration of person in sleeping cap jumping out of bed, for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the 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.

Vintage illustration of person in pyjamas watching out window, for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

Vintage illustration of Santa Claus's sleigh and reindeer, for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

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:

Vintage illustration of chimney and snow, for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

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 twinkling, 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.

Vintage illustration of man in pyjamas and Santa with sack, for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

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.

Vintage illustration of Santa Claus smoking pipe, for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

His eyes—how they twinkled! his 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 bowlful of jelly.

Vintage illustration of smoking Santa Claus delivering presents, for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

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;

Vintage illustration of Santa Claus filling stockings for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

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;

Vintage illustration of boy looking up chimney for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

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, as he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Vintage illustration of Santa Claus riding off on sleigh for The Night Before Christmas children's christmas stories

CHRISTMAS POEMS FOR KIDS BY CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE

Vintage illustrations by Jessie Wilcox Smith 
Header illustration by Giordano Aita.

LET’S CHAT ABOUT THE POEM ~ IDEAS FOR TALKING WITH KIDS

Family

1. What is your home like on the night before Christmas? What traditions does your family have, that you like to do every year?

 

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