October 28, 2008

The Night Before Christmas....

THE best version of The Night Before Christmas
is the 1960 Whitman Giant Tell-A-Tale version!!
This is not just my humble opinion...this is fact!
There were probably other versions before this
one in our family, and I know there were many
after...but this is the one that we all remember
and adore!!!

And a few years ago, I found out that this adoration
was shared by MANY others, when I decided that
I would make it my mission to find a copy for Bee
and Kae for Christmas! I am SUCH a nice sister!
(I am also the cutest, but let's just keep that
between us, ok?:)

This quest led me deeeeeeeeeeeeeep into the
Internet, first to narrow down just exactly
which Whitman book it was..but most importantly...
which year it was published AND who was the
illustrator! For you see, the only one you would
ever want is illustrated by Catherine Barnes!!!
Her illustrations are magical and sooooooooo
capture the Victorian Christmas home!
And as I look at her drawings, I begin to think
she may have influenced my decorating tastes!

Tiered serving dishes, ornate lamps & seashells!


Wicker....and LOOK at this iron bed!!!!!!!!!!

More wicker, a pink rug, a tufted & tasseled chair,
airy curtains and a lacey runner!

A fabulous mantel and hearth!

Ok, this cat could have been a tad better....
look at those eyes! YIKES! Satan's crafty minion!

But this was my little kid dream of a perfect
white Christmas!!!!!!!

And whenever I hear "visions of sugar plums danced
in their head"...this picture dances in mine!!!

I know this isn't every one's idea of Christmas, but for
us it was a huge part and it still has the power to take
us waaaaaaaaaaay down memory lane.
(Yes, I was able to get each of them a copy...and I happen
to know that there are 2 available on Ebay right now...
1 is $89.99 and the other is $170! See, I told you it
was adored :)


  1. Thanks for sharing, so nice and yes ,it is your taste. I did not see a lot of glitter, So sweet to get the book for your family.

  2. Oh, I hope you are able to find the books!
    I LOVE Christmas. It is my most favourite time of the year. Those pictures are definetly my ideal Christmas, along with an old farm house with a wrap around porch festooned with garland and a sleigh with bells.... Ahh if only dreams weren't stifled by money!
    Good luck in your search.

  3. Those are some very charming illustrations. I can see why the book is so special to you! :)

  4. Gasp! This book is so wonderful - I wnat one now (but not for that price!!!!)hee Hee - I wish I was your sister! Kathryn. XX

  5. ooooh i love that book. i love reading it to Sam every Christmas and sometimes just throughout the year because its so beautiful.
    It's my perfect vision of christmas too.....

    what a great post M. Now i cant wait for christmas.Can you? Let me guess...you'll be decorating in pink..???LOL. Me too! Fancy that!


  6. This was truly wonderful and brought back alot of memories.I do remember this.Thanks for bringing it all back.Come for a visit and drop off a name to enter my very first contest.Drawing is nov. 8 Hugs Marie antionette

  7. Oh "M"!
    This book is adorable...I love the Book "The Night Before Christmas", but I have never seen this version, it is just delightful. Thanks so much for sharing it. I wish I could have a copy of it...only in my dreams....

  8. You are such a good sister! I am sure they will let you be the cutest after such a sweet gift! I have never seen this version...very pretty illustrations!

  9. Oh wow, I could spend much time looking at each and every delish page! What a treasure!
    Amy Sutter

  10. My favorite is the Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. I will have to find a picture and post it but it is the old drawings, not the claymation one!! Still love it!!

  11. wow, that does bring back memories. It's amazing the prices those out of print children's books get. It makes me wish I would have saved all of mine!

  12. Wow, where have I been? I've never seen this before! I LOVE the illustrations and that bed is to die for. :)


  13. I did enjoy seeing all those Christmas illustrations - so charming!

  14. Oh I remember this book! A friend had it and I loved, loved, loved it. Thank you for a happy memory.

  15. OMG we had the same book when I was little, it was handed down from some older cousins. what a trip! :-) love it!

  16. What a great book! I love vintage children's books. Last year at our library's bookstore I found several from this same era that were adorable.

  17. I had this book whenI was a little girl, but like many things from childhood it went missing. A number of years ago I found a copy for sale at a Christmas tree farm gift shop, would you believe I bought it for $1!!! It's not in perfect condition by any stretch of the imagination but I was so thrilled to find it again because, like you, I think it's the perfect version of this story. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this very special and magical book. **Lori

  18. OMG! I'm doing a Google search for Catherine Barnes and haven't really found out much. I had her Tip Top Tales version of Cinderella (1961) when I was a kid. Of course my mum gave away all my children's book when she thought I was too old. When I was in my teens and began babysitting I started collecting and searching for the same Cinderella book I had. It took 40 years and 200+ versions of Cinderella, but a few months ago, I found a copy...in AUSTRALIA!!!!!!

    Does anyone know where I could contact Catherine Barnes? Is she still living and, if so, where? Please help if you can.

    Her artwork so inspired me that in 1980/81 I wrote my own version of Cinderella and hope to publish it by next year, if possible.

  19. I too remember mom reading this version of the story to us. I had forgotten all about it until I happened upon a copy in a garage sale for $1!! It's spine is in poor condition, but so was the one we actually owned! I actually have never seen a copy in "mint" condition which just means it was a dearly loved book! Thanks for the post!

  20. I was given this exact book on my very first Christmas at 11mo old. Mom read it to my brother and I every year, and when I started my own family she gave it to me and I have lovingly read it to my children every single year for over 32yrs now. As I am now 51, it kinda blows my mind that this book has been read every single year for over 50yrs! There simply isn't a better rendition of this classic tale.


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