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A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore – A Movement Story
Introduction: Begin with a group of children gathered in a circle, sitting on the floor or standing in a spacious area. A narrator or teacher can guide the movements as the story unfolds.
Narrator: (Addressing the children) Let’s embark on a magical journey as we bring to life the beloved poem “The Night Before Christmas.” Are you ready to join in the fun? Let’s begin!
Verse 1: “‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house…”
- Children pretend to be inside their cozy houses, huddled up and shivering from the cold.
Verse 2: “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”
- Children remain still, pretending to be asleep like little mice.
Verse 3: “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…”
- Children mime hanging stockings on the imaginary fireplace.
Verse 4: “In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there…”
- Children look excited and point to the sky, eagerly anticipating Santa’s arrival.
Verse 5: “The children were nestled all snug in their beds…”
- Children pretend to sleep, curling up in a comfortable position.
Verse 6: “While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads…”
- Children use their arms to mimic the swirling and dancing of sugarplum visions in their dreams.
Verse 7: “And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap…”
- Children pretend to put on scarves (mamma) and caps (narrator), adjusting them in a playful manner.
Verse 8: “Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap…”
- Children continue to pretend to sleep, closing their eyes and lying down.
Verse 9: “When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter…”
- Children abruptly wake up and act surprised, looking toward the source of the noise.
Verse 10: “I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter…”
- Children jump up and look around, as if rushing to see what’s happening.
Verse 11: “Away to the window, I flew like a flash…”
- Children dash to an imaginary window, leaning forward and peering outside.
Verse 12: “Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash…”
- Children mime opening shutters and raising the window.
Verse 13: “The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow…”
- Children raise their arms to mimic a big, round moon in the sky.
Verse 14: “Gave the lustre of midday to objects below…”
- Children use their hands to “shine” light on the objects below.
Verse 15: “When, what to my wondering eyes should appear…”
- Children express astonishment with wide eyes and open mouths.
Verse 16: “But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer…”
- Children pretend to be Santa’s reindeer, crouching down and pulling an imaginary sleigh.
Verse 17: “With a little old driver, so lively and quick…”
- Children mime Santa Claus, showing his jolly and energetic demeanor.
Verse 18: “I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick…”
- Children nod knowingly and point at Santa.
Verse 19: “More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came…”
- Children move around quickly, mimicking the speed of Santa’s reindeer.
Verse 20: “And he whistled and shouted and called them by name…”
- Children mime Santa calling his reindeer by name and making whistle sounds.
Verse 21: “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!”
- Children say the names and move as if they are each reindeer, prancing and dancing.
Verse 22: “On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!”
- Children continue to move and act like the reindeer, following Santa’s lead.
Verse 23: “To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!”
- Children reach up high as if they are ascending to the rooftop.
Verse 24: “Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!”
- Children move quickly, “dashing” and “flying” away in all directions.
Verse 25: “As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly…”
- Children pretend to be leaves blowing in the wind, swirling and twirling.
Verse 26: “When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky…”
- Children mimic the reindeer leaping over obstacles and soaring into the air.
Verse 27: “So up to the housetop, the coursers they flew…”
- Children continue to mime the reindeer, reaching the imaginary rooftop.
Verse 28: “With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too…”
- Children act like they are unloading toys from the sleigh.
Verse 29: “And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof…”
- Children listen attentively, pointing to the imaginary roof.
Verse 30: “The prancing and pawing of each little hoof…”
- Children pretend to be the reindeer on the rooftop, prancing and pawing.
Verse 31: “As I drew in my head and was turning around…”
- Children mime pulling their heads inside, looking around in surprise.
Verse 32: “Down the chimney, St. Nicholas came with a bound!”
- Children pretend to be Santa, sliding down an imaginary chimney with enthusiasm.
Verse 33: “He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot…”
- Children mime Santa, adjusting imaginary fur clothing.
Verse 34: “And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot…”
- Children use their hands to mimic the ashes and soot on Santa’s clothes.
Verse 35: “A bundle of toys he had flung on his back…”
- Children mime Santa carrying a heavy sack of toys on his back.
Verse 36: “And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack…”
- Children pretend to open the sack and display the toys.
Verse 37: “His eyes—how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!”
- Children mimic Santa’s twinkling eyes and show merry dimples on their cheeks.
Verse 38: “His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!”
- Children touch their rosy cheeks and noses playfully.
Verse 39: “His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow…”
- Children shape their mouths into a cheerful bow shape.
Verse 40: “And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow…”
- Children pretend to have long, white beards, stroking them gently.
Verse 41: “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth…”
- Children pretend to hold an imaginary pipe in their teeth.
Verse 42: “And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath…”
- Children mimic smoke encircling their heads, creating wreath-like shapes.
Verse 43: “He had a broad face and a little round belly…”
- Children exaggerate their faces and tummies, making playful gestures.
Verse 44: “That shook when helaughed, like a bowl full of jelly…”
Children giggle and hold their bellies as they shake like a bowl full of jelly.
Verse 45: “He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf…”
Children act jolly and plump like Santa, walking around with playful, bouncy steps.
Verse 46: “And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself…”
Children laugh out loud, clapping their hands in delight.
Verse 47: “A wink of his eye and a twist of his head…”
Children wink one eye and then twist their heads playfully.
Verse 48: “Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread…”
Children put their hands on their hearts, showing they feel safe and joyful.
Verse 49: “He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work…”
Children mime Santa silently filling the stockings and placing presents under the tree.
Verse 50: “And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk…”
Children continue to mime the actions, then quickly turn around with a playful jerk.
Verse 51: “And laying his finger aside of his nose…”
Children place their fingers aside their noses, mimicking Santa’s magical gesture.
Verse 52: “And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose…”
Children nod and then pretend to rise up the chimney like Santa.
Verse 53: “He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle…”
Children pretend to be Santa, jumping into the sleigh and whistling for the reindeer.
Verse 54: “And away they all flew like the down of a thistle…”
Children pretend to be the reindeer, flying away swiftly.
Verse 55: “But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight…”
Children put their hands to their ears, listening intently.
Verse 56: “‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!'”
Children joyfully exclaim the famous line, spreading their arms wide and smiling.
Conclusion: As the magical journey comes to an end, the children gather back in a circle, their faces aglow with the warmth and joy of the holiday spirit. The narrator or teacher applauds the children’s performance and encourages them to carry the magic of Christmas with them throughout the season.
Narrator: “And just like that, our journey has come to an end. But remember, the magic of Christmas is always with us, as long as we keep it in our hearts. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”