Santa looks at the camera with his finger in front of his mouth motioning for quiet as a 10 month old boy sits on the tailgate of a red pickup truck.
Colorful art of elf child wearing a Santa hat and holding a present wrapped in red paper and a red bow.
Touch my nose for instructions!

‘Twas the Night RIGHT before Christmas

By Bill Barnsley

Our story begins RIGHT after Santa LEFT the North Pole and before he LEFT presents for children RIGHT around the world.

Bernard, a wonderful elf, was RIGHT by the sleigh just before Santa LEFT with the reindeer. Santa checked his sleigh and tugged on his LEFT ear, mumbling into his beard. He worried that a present had been LEFT out of the sleigh. “Bernard,” Santa declared, “I don’t think the count is RIGHT. What if we LEFT a present behind?”

Confidently, Bernard looked RIGHT at Santa, “Santa, I’m sure the count is RIGHT. There are no presents LEFT in the workshop. I promise that we have the RIGHT count. No child will be LEFT without a present.”

Santa’s worried look LEFT his face. “Bernard, I know that you are RIGHT .” Then Santa looked RIGHT past Bernard to see Mrs. Claus waving from the door. Santa waved RIGHT back, and he knew there was nothing LEFT to do except to fly. It was time Santa LEFT RIGHT now!

And so, my friends, the story of a Visit From St. Nicholas begins RIGHT now.

‘Twas the night RIGHT before Christmas when RIGHT through the house, not a creature was LEFT stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were LEFT RIGHT by the chimney with care, hoping St Nicholas would soon be RIGHT there.

The children were nestled RIGHT in their beds while visions of sugar plums danced LEFT and RIGHT in their heads. And Ma, in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, had settled RIGHT down for a long winter’s nap. 

When RIGHT on the lawn, there arose such a clatter that I LEFT my bed to see what was the matter. RIGHT 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 LEFT a luster of midday to objects RIGHT 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 RIGHT away 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 Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash RIGHT away! Dash away all!”

As leaves that RIGHT before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount RIGHT to the sky. So RIGHT to the housetop the coursers they flew, with a sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard RIGHT on the roof, the prancing and pawing LEFT by each little hoof. As I drew in my head and turned RIGHT around, down the chimney, St. Nicholas came with a bound. 

He was dressed all in fur, from his head RIGHT to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung RIGHT 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 RIGHT up like a bow, and the beard RIGHT on his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held RIGHT in his teeth and the smoke encircled his head like a wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly, that shook RIGHT 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 LEFT me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word but went RIGHT to his work and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk. And laying his finger to the RIGHT of his nose, and giving a nod, RIGHT up the chimney he rose:

He sprang RIGHT 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 LEFT RIGHT out of sight— “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

A section of green holly garland with red berries.

INSTRUCTIONS: This is a game where presents are passed around a circle of people. To begin, gather the participants in a circle – the more the merrier! As the story is read, pass the presents to the LEFT or RIGHT as these words are spoken.

NOTE 1: If the participants are young children, keeping the presents very similar or identical is helpful to avoid any hurt feelings or tears. Different color gift bags are enough to create the impression of different presents.

NOTE 2: There are 19 “LEFT” and 42 “RIGHT” direction calls. In a group of 23 participants an individual will finish with the same present with which they began.

NOTE 3: The game can be played MUCH faster for teens and adults. 🙂

A cartoon of Santa and a Christmas tree in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer harnessed in pairs.

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Play the Party Game: Twas the Night RIGHT Before Christmas