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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is a classic poem by Clement C. Moore. It is actually titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. It is about Christmas Eve when St. Nick comes to the house of a family’s home to deliver presents. The father sees him and tells all about it in this fun and playful poem. The poem is now in public domain and free to use as desired.
This poem is basically what shaped our view of Santa Claus in this country. It’s a fun one to read to younger children during the holidays or to help kids memorize in December. Read it at Christmas celebrations, or study the history of it with your kids.
The ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem was first published anonymously in 1823. The author was unknown until 1837 when it appeared in a book of poetry credited to Clement C. Moore.
This poem has also been credited to Major Major Henry Livingston, Jr. His children have claimed that Livingston first recited this poem to them in 1807.
While I am not sure of the original author, it is still a great classic that is well-loved today!
I created a printable of this ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas poem for you to print and use in your classroom, your homeschool, or for any of your Christmas activities. Feel free to use it as you need!
You can Download the Poem Here:
I also made a printable mini booklet to read with kids as a story with full color illustrations. This is a fun way to introduce the poem to younger children.
Here is the full text of poem!
A Visit from St. Nicholas
By Clement Clarke Moore
‘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 did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he 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, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop 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.
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 pedlar just opening his pack.
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 on 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 full 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!”
Download a Free Copy of the “Twas the Night Before Christmas poem!
Also check out the printable little mini book of the whole poem in story format to read with young children. This is available for purchase in my shop! This mini book download is 14 ages long and also includes the full text of the poem that I am offering in the free download.
Buy the Mini book now!
Looking for more Christmas Printables & Activities?
Check out some of these:
- Christmas Left Right Stories– a fun white elephant game and also great for classroom parties!
- The Best Family Christmas Movies for Kids to Watch
- Christmas STEM: Poinsettia Ph Experiment
- Puzzle Cube Christmas Advent Calendar