An Aussie Night Before Christmas by Yvonne Morrison and Kilmeny Niland, hardback picture book, first published by Scholastic Australia in 2005.
Twas the Night Before Christmas gets a makeover, Aussie style!
An Aussie Night Before Christmas is quintessentially Australian. Everything from possums to water tanks, Pavlova and Shazza, to beer left out for Santa. There is so much nostalgia in this Aussie Christmas story! An old rusty ute pulled by kangaroos, with Santa at the wheel in his red stubby shorts and thongs. This is pretty much how I imagined he would be lying in bed on those hot summer nights of Christmas eves past. And we always left out beer for Santa to drink, because delivering presents all over is thirsty work! Now all he gets is a cup of milk that has probably soured in the heat…
The story follows the basics of the original, but spruced up with Aussie colour. The language is lyrical and quirky; great for sharing aloud and having a bit of a chuckle. The illustrations complement the text perfectly. They are festively bright, and clear yet detailed. Santa’s flowered shirt really is something!
I love this Australian version of an old favourite Christmas poem; it is perfect to share with my children on Christmas Eve. I hope this is a tradition that will continue for many years to come in our family.
An Aussie Night Before Christmas is suitable for all ages, but could be read alone by lower primary school children.
With Christmas only six weeks away, it was time to pull out some of our Christmas books. We have a pretty good selection of Christmas themed books and I wanted to share some of the Australian ones here.
Our absolute favourite Christmas book, What Does Santa do When it’s not Christmas? is by Australian author and illustrator Heath McKenzie. It is a perfect picture book for sharing aloud and is sure to make you laugh!
Other humourous rhyming books for an Aussie Christmas include There Was an Old Bloke who Swallowed a Present and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Star, both by P. Crumble and Louis Shea. With hilarious illustrations and a familiar cadence, these are great for young children.
For some Christmas carols with an Aussie twist Colin Buchanan has it covered with Santa Koala (to the tune of Waltzing Matilda), Aussie Jingle Bells and The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas. The latter also has a list of things to spot in the pictures throughout the book. Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas is a collection of songs by Bucko & Champs which can be sung to the tunes of some traditional carols. Possibly the most popular Australian Christmas song is Six White Boomers by Rolf Harris and Bruce Whatley; it is certainly our favourite! We also like The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Kevin Whitlark. If you’re more of a dog lover, you may prefer The Twelve Dogs of Christmas!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without reading An Aussie Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve! I love the idea of Santa arriving in an old ute.
Fans of Diary of a Wombat won’t be able to pass Christmas Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. That wombat sure does like carrots!
We have a picture book called Santa is Coming to Sydney. Santa takes the whole night to make his special deliveries to Sydney children before flying home… it’s probably nice for kids in Sydney to read about Santa coming to their city, but my kids weren’t really impressed, as it made it seem like Santa would only be visiting Sydney. I do like that Santa uses Santa-Nav to get around though.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained, you might like to try Where’s Santa? In Australia by Louis Shea. There are literally hundreds of things to spot in this Where’s Wally?-esque book. The humourous illustrations will keep the kids busy for hours!
We also enjoyed The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas by Michael Salmon (my favourite version), Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen, and Christmas in Australia by John Williamson and Mitch Vane. We borrowed these ones from the library.
What Aussie Christmas books do you like to read with your kids?