YourClassical Kids Storytime

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

"He whistled, and shouted, and called them by name."Nancy Carlson for MPR


YourClassical Kids Storytime: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

5:15


November 30, 2020

Children have delighted in the telling of Clement Moore's classic A Visit From St. Nicholas — with its famous opening line, "'Twas the night before Christmas" — for nearly 200 years. We've produced a special version of the beloved tale with timeless classical music that's just right for a cozy story time. And this holiday season, we've added charming illustrations by Nancy Carlson. (See more of her illustrations in the gallery.)

So gather the little ones around, and share the joys of this seasonal favorite accompanied by the music you love — a gift from us to you.


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Video

Playlist

Our telling of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas includes excerpts from the following recordings:

Alexander Glazunov: "Winter" from The Seasons
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ondrej Lenard

Peter Tchaikovsky: "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from The Nutcracker
Philharmonia Cassovia, Andrew Mogrelia

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 (Titan), first movement
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Zdenek Kosler

Sergei Prokofiev: "Troika" from Lt. Kije
Slovak State Philharmonic - Kosice, Andrew Mogrelia

Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra, fifth movement
Belgian Radio & Television Philharmonic Orchestra, Alexander
Rahbari

Tchaikovsky: Overture from The Nutcracker
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Zdenek Kosler

Tchaikovsky: "Russian Dance" from The Nutcracker
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Zdenek Kosler

Courtesy of Naxos of America Inc.

Story

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 luster of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
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, Donder and Blixen!
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 peddler 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!"

Public domain

Credits

Storyteller: Lynne Warfel
Producer: Valerie Kahler
Senior digital producer: Randy Salas
Program director: Julie Amacher