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Modern Versions of The Night Before Christmas: Retellings of the Classic Christmas Eve Story by Clement Moore

Published by Charlena Shular

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The Night Before Christmas tells the story of a family home ready for Christmas Day. While everyone else sleeps, two young children catch sight of St Nicholas as he delivers their family Christmas gifts.

The Night Before Christmas – Clement Moore

In 1822 Clement C Moore, a New York clergyman anonymously published A Visit from St. Nicholas, a story he had created to tell his children. The story captured the imagination of the public and the original title was eventually replaced by the familiar first line of the story “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

A large page, large text version of the original poem was published by Running Press in 1995. With beautiful soft-focus full page and accent illustrations, this version is ideal for reading this special and magical traditional Christmas story together as a family on Christmas Eve.

An Aussie Night Before Christmas – Yvonne Morrison


While European and American audiences may relate to the traditional white Christmas images of the original poem, an Australian Christmas Day is usually hot and sunny.

One of the most popular Australian Christmas stories, An Aussie Night Before Christmas (Scholastic Australia) rewrites this Christmas Eve story for Australian children replacing the winter imagery with an Australian bush setting. The silent mice are replaced by possums and visions of pavlova dance instead of sugarplums. Santa’s sleigh, a rusty vintage Holden ute, arrives pulled by a team of kangaroos.

Australian children will be amused by Kilmeny Niland’s illustrations of familiar animals, plants and household items and the overtly Australian text, still following the traditional story format.

An Aussie Day Before Christmas – Kilmeny Niland

Following the outstanding local success of An Aussie Night Before Christmas, Kilmeny Niland has released a companion book in time for Christmas 2008. An Aussie Day Before Christmas (Scholastic Australia) reveals Santa’s day before Christmas preparations for his Australian Christmas run.

Santa is busy sharing breakfast with his wife, taking a walk along the beach and then dealing with the important task of selecting the right ‘roos to pull the Christmas sleigh/ute.

Once again in the same poetry rhythm of the original, An Aussie Day Before Christmas brings further Christmas fun and humour to young children looking forward to celebrating a hot Australian Christmas. The quirky details of the illustrations will amuse children and parents alike.

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas – Richard Scarry

Accident prone Mr Frumble is so excited and full of Christmas spirit that he decides to head to the North Pole to help Santa prepare for his Christmas deliveries. When he arrives he confuses everyone and Santa leaves too early, trying to deliver presents one night too early. It looks like Christmas will be a disaster, but Mr Frumble comes through and manages to save Santa and Christmas.

Adhering more to the spirit of the original than the format, this lively Christmas story will delight young readers. With Richard Scarry’s familiar Busytown families preparing for Christmas Eve, there is plenty of activity and craziness.

Combine The Night Before the Night Before Christmas (HarperCollins) with the original by reading Richard Scarry’s version on before bed on 23rd December then Clement Moore’s Christmas Eve poem on 24th December.

Combine Modern and Traditional Stories to Celebrate Christmas

Sharing Christmas stories together can be a very special part of establishing family Christmas traditions. Combining traditional stories with modern offers something for everyone and can create some lovely memories of time spent together during the holiday season.

The Night Before Christmas (ISBN: 0-00-716711-3)

An Aussie Night Before Christmas (ISBN: 1-86504-653-1)

An Aussie Day Before Christmas (ISBN: 978-1-74169-097-2)

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas (ISBN: 0-00-720721-2)

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