Retell 'Twas the Night Before Christmas


Retelling stories can be a fun activity and is one of the best ways to reinforce a story or concept. This also helps with comprehension and sequencing skills. This activity was done with my 4th grade class. While the pictures shown demonstrate more complexity than a was one of the most enjoyable activities I did and I plan to do one on a simpler scale with my girls this year.
Retelling of the book "Twas the Night Before Christmas.


  • Cardstock or construction paper cut to size of choice
  • Pencil, Scissors, Markers
  • Non Toxic Craft Glue
  • Ideas for textures:
  • Fabric like velour, denim, etc.
  • Cotton
  • Buttons
  • Spongy filled shapes
  • Foam Shapes
  • Stickers
  • Craft sticks
  • Pieces of ribbon
  • Rhinestones if your toddler is old enough.
  • Tempera Paint


  • Read the book Twas the Night Before Christmas
  • Using the book and pictures to guide you, decide how many pages you are going to make and what picture to draw.
  • Plan out your picture by drawing a sketch.
  • Make a list of materials to be used on that page.
  • Gather those materials and cut out pieces that you will need.
  • Glue, paint, draw and color.
  • Let dry.
  • Write or print the story on each page to be made. We glued ours to the left of each photo.
  • Bind your book by stapling, velobind or method of your choice.
h2>Tips and Suggestions
  • If the book is for a very young toddler, make sure pieces are glued well. A craft glue will have a stronger hold.
  • Make sure you always read this book together with your child, that way you can also monitor any pieces that get loose.
  • Make a page a day rather than trying to complete the entire book.
  • Great classroom activity to work in groups. We did groups of four for each page.
  • This activity can be done with many toddler books.

Favorite Pages from our Book

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

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 sugarplums 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 the 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 the lustre of midday to objects below.
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.
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 dry 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 of 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 bowlful 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!"

A Simpler Version

  • For young toddlers, you might just pick one favorite scene to make and paste the entire poem on the top or on another page.
  • For older toddlers divide the poem in three to five parts or work on one page a day.

Educational Notes

  • Helps develop the retelling process which is an important skill in comprehension.
  • Keep in mind it is a skill that takes time to develop but it is a very valuable one and a 3 year old can do it! Start with very simple toddler books and ask questions like
  • What was their favorite part of this toddler book?
  • Which picture did they like the best?
  • What happened first or in the beginning of this toddler book?