Twas the Night Before Christmas

A Puppet Play Adapted by Betsy Bybell

Jake: (enters singing) Jingle bells …

Annie: Shh, please be quieter, Jake, I’m trying to read this book.

Jake: How can you read at a time like this? It’s snowing, Christmas is coming and (sings again) Jingle bells.

Annie: Jake, can’t you try to settle down a little? I think you’d like to read this story too. It’s all about Santa Claus.

Jake: But Annie, you know I can’t read.

Annie: That’s right, I forgot. I’ll read it to you.

Jake: (jumps up and down singing) Jingle bells.

Annie: Jake! Stop jumping around.

Jake: Okay, I’ll listen.

Annie: Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Jake: Why weren’t they stirring their hot chocolate? If you don’t keep mixing your cocoa, you get yucky sludge at the bottom of the mug. (gags)

Annie: They weren’t drinking cocoa, they were sleeping.

Jake: Sleeping? You said they weren’t stirring.

Annie: Jake, they were asleep. Okay? Trust me. You have be asleep so Santa can come.

Jake: Oh, that’s right. I forgot.

Annie: The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in the 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.

Jake: (dances) Yahoo, let’s dance. Jingle bells, jingle bells.

Annie: Stop, Jake. I can’t read when you’re hopping all about and ringing that bell.

Jake: Oh sorry, guess I got a little carried away.

Annie: And Mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap had just settled down 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.

Jake: I bet I know what happened. Those pesky raccoons knocked over their garbage cans.

Annie: No, Jake, raccoons did not knock over the garbage cans.

Jake: Then it must have been some dogs. P! U! What a mess!

Annie: Nobody knocked over any garbage cans.

Jake: Then what made all the noise? Huh huh huh?

Annie: I’ll tell you, if YOU stop making noise!

Jake: All right, I can take a hint.

Annie: Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Jake: No wonder you threw up. You should have known you’d get sick if you ate a scarf.

Annie: I didn’t eat a scarf. This sash is a part of a window. I was just telling you that I opened the window.

Jake: Then why didn’t you just say, I opened the window. Huh huh huh?

Annie: Because that doesn’t rhyme. It isn’t poetic.

Jake: Well, la di da! Excuse me!

Annie: I will. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the luster of midday to objects below.

Jake: I thought you said it was the middle of the night.

Annie: I did. The moon was shining so brightly on the snow that everyone could see outside.

Jake: They could see without flashlights?

Annie: Yes. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Jake: Wait a minute, waaait a minute. You said this story was about Santa Claus.

Annie: It IS Santa Claus.

Jake: Make up your mind. NOW you’re telling me it’s Santa Claus, but first you said it was somebody named St. Nick.

Annie: St. Nick IS Santa Claus.

Jake: Huh?

Annie: He has TWO names. Some people call him St. Nick and some people call him Santa Claus.

Jake: How confusing. I only have one name, Jake, Everybody calls me just plain old Jake.

Annie: I could think up some other names to call you too, but I’m too polite and I’m reading right now. More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came.

Jake: He has a computer?

Annie: No, he has reindeer. They’re called coursers in the poem. And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

Jake: I would hope so. Otherwise they won’t listen. You have to call a dog by his name to make him come, I’d think reindeer would be the same.

Annie: Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!

Jake: What strange names! Why not Spot and Fluffy and Champ? And where’s Rudolph?

Annie: He’s not here.

Jake: Why not? He’s the mostest famousest reindeer of all. (sings again) Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose.

Annie: Forget him, he’s not here. Listen to the book. To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

Jake: (starts running) Where’s the race? Why am I running?

Annie: Not you, the reindeer. Sit back down. 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.

Jake: Now there’s a hurricane? What’s going on?

Annie: No hurricane, it’s poetic again. The reindeer and sleigh fly up on top of the house. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

Jake: Careful up there, don’t fall off!

Annie: As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

Jake: That’s the gift! A bound! Who’d want that for a gift?

Annie: A bound isn’t something Santa’s giving away. It’s a way of saying that Santa jumped down the chimney.

Jake: Then you should say, Santa jumped down the chimney.

Annie: That doesn’t rhyme.

Jake: Oh yeah, that’s right. Poetic again.

Annie: He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

Jake: Bet he got in plenty of trouble for making a mess.

Annie: Not as much trouble as I’m having keeping you quiet. A bundle of toys he had slung on his back, and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

Jake: Santa was riding his bike around the tree.

Annie: No!

Jake: But you said he was pedaling?

Annie: I said he looked like a peddler. A peddler is someone who carried around what he sells.

Jake: Oh. You shoulda said so.

Annie: 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.

Jake: At least you got that part right.

Annie: 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.

Jake: Kind of like you, huh, Annie?

Annie: Jake!

Jake: You have to admit, you have a little paunch. (pokes her in stomach)

Annie: Jake! I’m warning you.

Jake: I know, I know. Be quiet.

Annie: He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

Jake: And that made your little “bowl of jelly” shake, huh. (pokes her in stomach again)

Annie: Jake! 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 … unlike SOME people I know … but went straight to his work, and filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk.

Jake: Why are you calling Santa names? You called him a jerk.

Annie: I didn’t call him that. I said he turned with a jerk.

Jake: Oops, my mistake, thought you said like a jerk. Go on.

Annie: And laying a finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

Jake: Wow! How did he do that?

Annie: Santa is magic.

Jake: You don’t say.

Annie: I do say. 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!”

Jake: Well? Well?

Annie: Well, what?

Jake: What happens next?

Annie: Nothing, Jake. That’s the end of the story.

Jake: Really? The end? Well, that was quick. Read it again. I liked it.

Annie: No. I don’t think I could stand to go through that again. But I could think of something we should do.

Jake: What’s that?

Annie: See all those people out there?

Jake: Yep, yep, yep. I see them.

Annie: Don’t you think they were good listeners? Better than you?

Jake: Sure shooting.

Annie: Then let’s wish them what Santa said in the story.

Jake: Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Jake, boisterous, talks all the time, can’t read, takes everything literally, dressed in tinsel
Annie, smart, likes to read, but getting frustrated with Jake’s questions, dressed in holiday dress

Props: copy of “The night before Christmas” book
Large jingle bell with ribbon for puppet to hold


About wvstoryteller

Storyteller and retired librarian with over 10 years experience in children's programming and 15 years experience as professional storyteller. Created a successful puppetry troupe for teens that continues today, and wrote many scripts for the group.
This entry was posted in Seasons, Winter Holidays. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Twas the Night Before Christmas

  1. afgarrison7 says:

    Hi, my name is Amanda Garrison, and while I support sharing between librarians for the joy and love of reading with children, my co-worker Jonathan Nichols, and I wrote the script for this puppet show and would very much appreciate being cited as the original creators of this work. I can provide the original to prove it is our intellectual property. As a fellow librarian, I ask that you please properly cite your sources and give credit where credit is due. You wouldn’t teach your children and teens to take credit for someone else’s work, right?

    • Hello, Amanda. This was submitted by another librarian, so I will contact her. I do try to cite sources accurately, and would be happy to do so in this case. Thanks for letting me know.

  2. niesha nieyna says:

    Thank you for the story..i really need a comedy is useful😉😄

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