Twas The Night Before Christmas, Various Illustrators

Illustrator Leonard Weisgard, via Vintage Children's Books

Is there a more famous Christmas poem than Twas the Night Before Christmas? Not in my mind. Written by Clement C. Moore in 1823 , it has endured and become a beloved poem. Illustrated by countless artists since it was first penned, it would be difficult for me to choose a favorite, so I decided to do the poem in it's entirety with different illustrators.
I didn't realize when I started this how much time it would take. I'm looking at this as an ongoing project and hope to show it next year again, with improvements, modifications, etc. Here for your viewing pleasure is Twas the Night Before Christmas by different illustrators.

Illustrator: Joseph Giordano, 1957, via hunkamunka

Illustrator: Dorcas via Pennelainer

Illustrator: Douglas Gorsline via The Art of Children's Picture Books
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

Illustrator: W.W. Denslow via SantaClaus

And Mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap.

(The site above has many antique Twas The Night Before Christmas books that you can view. I enjoyed view W.W. Denslow's version from 1902.)

1980 Hallmark Pop Up Book via mrvilhauer
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.

Illustrator: Jessie Willcox Smith via Poets.net 

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to objects below,

image via Jasper, Pickens County Georgia

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick;
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Illustrator: Florence Sarah Winship via bewitchedmagic
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 Blitzen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

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.

Illustrator: Douglas Gorsline, 1975, via The Art of Children's Picture Books

Illustrator: Jessie Willcox Smith via NYPL Digital Gallery
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

Vintage Little Golden Book via lottielulu
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

Antique Christmas Book via Jasper, Pickens County Georgia
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

1896 Illustration via SantaClaus

But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Santa Portrait via Tales of Curiosity

This site has a reading of Twas The Night Before Christmas that you can listen to while viewing the images.


  1. I believe that LGB illustration is by Corrine Malvern. The title page is ripped out of our copy, but we love that one, too.

  2. Thanks for taking me back to my childhood! I have no idea where my old copy (vintage late 1950's-early 1960's) is, but I loved seeing some of it here. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Holidays!!

  3. You're welcome and Happy Holidays to you!

  4. Hello all...I am looking for a copy of Twas, where the illustrator has images mice hidden in the illustrations. Does anyone know about this version? Thanks!