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The Night Before Christmas: 10 Beautiful Editions

Updated on September 26, 2014

Welcome to my Holiday Gift Guide: The Night Before Christmas!

Most people who celebrate Christmas know The Night Before Christmas poem well and can recite parts, or all of it, by heart. The books below were selected for their wonderful illustrations which are a part of what makes this book a treasure and heirloom. I chose several different styles of illustration - traditional to contemporary - and in between. I hope you see one you like!

Like comets they flew!

Like comets they flew!
Like comets they flew!

Illustrated by Mary Engelbreit

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

Engelbreit's visions of sugarplums translate to a busy-bright patchwork of checks, plaids, paisleys and chintzes in this oversize volume. Her interpretation of Moore's poem features a cast of rambunctious elves who accompany an exceptionally jolly St. Nick as he leaves assorted old-fashioned candies and toys inside a home decorated in a spectrum of Engelbreit's trademark patterns and prints. (Publisher's Weekly)


Illustrated by Cheryl Harness

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

What makes this book different from the rest of the Night Before Christmas books is the illustrations. The pictures are that of a traditional victorian home. The detail is incredible. Purchasing this book is probably one of the best buys I have ever made. We enjoy this book not only every day in December, but throughout the year. (amazon reviewer)


Illustrated by Eric Puybaret


The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

Beautiful illustrations! The book is terrifically illustrated -- a treasure to read to my grandchildren. And the CD by Peter, Paul and Mary makes it very special. A great holiday purchase! (amazon reviewer)


About the Poem's Author

Clement C. Moore

Hard to believe, but the 19th-century author who left us an image of a fat, jolly, white-bearded St. Nicholas was known as a serious, straitlaced professor at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. Before publishing his now famous poem Clement C. Moore had published a book called A Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language (2 volumes).

Even though Moore was kind of a stiff, he had children. The poem was written for them.

Illustrated by Jan Brett

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

Jan Brett’s New York Times bestselling edition of Clement Moore’s classic Christmas poem celebrates its tenth anniversary with a note from Jan and an exquisitely redesigned jacket with red foil trim, making this a delectable holiday treat.

A new generation of readers will find Jan’s visual interpretation of this favorite poem, set in a snowy New England village, both familiar, as St. Nick visits a Victorian family, and surprising, with Jan’s addition of two stowaway elves from the North Pole.


Illustrated by Jean Hirashima

The Night before Christmas (All Aboard Books)
The Night before Christmas (All Aboard Books)

The book has gem-like illustrations capturing all the magic of this special season. Full color. (amazon)

Bought a copy for each of the grandkids to have for Christmas Eve. Inexpensive but has wonderful illustrations. (amazon reviewer)


A "Mere Trifle"

Clement Moore refused to have his poem published even though those who read it loved it. He said publishing it was beneath his dignity. However, the following Christmas "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was submitted by a family member to an out-of-town newspaper. The poem was an instant hit but Moore did not acknowledge authorship until 15 years later. He called the poem "a mere trifle."

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Illustrated by Will Moses

Intended as a gift book, it includes a three-dimensional cardboard cut-out tree ornament of Santa in his sleigh.

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

Cozy and quaint oil paintings reflect the quiet beauty of 1800 rural New England. Playful details such as finding the same mouse throughout the book will be fun for children to explore and share. Full spreads interspersed between the verses give striking panoramic views of the sleeping town and the old-fashioned home. (School Library Journal)


Illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

The best illustrated version of The Night Before Christmas, hands down! I had this book when I was a child and have very fond memories of my father reading it to me at Christmastime. I adored the beautiful illustrations. Gyo Fujikawa is a wonderful children's book illustrater. The drawings are classic and precious, beautifully detailed without being too busy. Now I plan to read this to my own daughter! (amazon reviewer)


Illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson

An additional bonus is the appended tongue-in-cheek interview between St. Nick and Watson where readers learn about how Santa got his reindeer and his customized Polaris sleigh.

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

A modern, hip, and playful version of the classic poem with Santa cruising in a rocket-ship-style sleigh into an ordinary American '50s town, dressed like a biplane aviator. Multicultural elves, including one with dreadlocks and carrying a boom box and another in an Asian jacket carrying an origami paper crane, decorate the text side of each spread. (School Library Journal)


Legend tells us that Moore composed "A Visit from St. Nicholas" for his family on Christmas Eve of 1822, during a sleigh-ride. His inspiration was, theoretically, the roly-poly Dutchman driving his sleigh. It's more probable that other literary works of the day inspired Moore.

Illustrated by Robert Ingpen

The Night Before Christmas (Sterling Illustrated Classics)
The Night Before Christmas (Sterling Illustrated Classics)

From popular children's illustrator Robert Ingpen comes a beautiful new interpretation of the classic holiday poem. Ingpen's stunning pictures capture all the warmth, wonder, and humor of Clement C. Moore's beloved verse. It's perfect for the family to share and a magical start to every Christmas eve.


Illustrated by Rachel Isadora

The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas

I loved LOVED this book! What a great version of this classic story. It is a creative and different interpretation and a treat for all who own it. I think it would make a perfect gift for the holidays as well as a fun book all year round. (amazon reviewer)


How Well Do You Know the Poem?

Can you recite The Night Before Christmas by heart?

See results

Comments Welcome, Wrapped or Not! - Happy holidays!

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    • MetkaL profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! Love the book!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I can't believe that I didn't see Robert Sabuda's version listed here. He's a phenomenal paper engineer. All of his creations are just breath-taking!

    • KokoTravel profile image


      8 years ago

      Aren't there some amazing artists illustrating these books... wonderful collection, thanks.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      8 years ago

      Wonderful lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome lens! Blessed by a Squidoo Angel on 12/15/2010. Havea great day!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Delightful lens. Wishing you a merry little Christmas season and a fantastic New Year :)

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Delightful lens. Wishing you a merry little Christmas season and a fantastic New Year :)


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