Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas Book Advent

I love holiday traditions, as I'm sure most people do. With our own family I want to balance some of my childhood traditions with Ben's, but I also want to create some of our own.

A couple years ago I read a friend's blog post about unwrapping a Christmas book each day as a countdown to Christmas. I immediately fell in love with the idea and have been anxiously waiting for the year Reid would be old enough for this to really be an effective tradition.

I dub 2014 The Year!

A couple weeks ago I started putting books on hold at our library. Ben picked up a half dozen last week and I went to pick up a half dozen more today. While the kids played in the children's area I browsed through the top shelf of Christmas books, just the top shelf. I'm too pregnant to be bending down and checking out those bottom three shelves. Also, I've been buying a few Christmas books at Goodwill over the past few years.

So that ^^^ is what I sat down to this afternoon. Reid was upstairs watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates, judge me, I don't mind; and Nell was taking her nap. Neither of them are aware of my plan. I hope to just place them under the tree once we get it all decorated (per my family's tradition, that will be the weekend of Thanksgiving, per Ben's family tradition it will come from a tree farm). They'll get to open one each night at bedtime; whoever doesn't do the unwrapping that night will get to choose an additional story to read for bedtime -- as our nightly routine is to read two books before prayers, kisses, and bed. 

If this doesn't work out as splendidly as I envision we can always scratch the whole idea. But I do hope it becomes a yearly tradition for us. There are just so many wonderful Christmas books out there! Here is a list of my final picks:

A Wish to be a Christmas Tree
Christmas in the Manger
It's Christmas David
God Gave Us Christmas
Santa's Favorite Story
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
Llama Llama Holiday Drama
Christmas is Here
Musical Christmas
The Donkey's Christmas Song
Bear Stays Up
Who is Coming to Our House
Snowmen at Christmas
Merry Christmas Splat
Room for a Little One
Jingle Bells 
Madeline's Christmas
Aliens Love Panta Claus
The Christmas Train
Merry Christmas Curious George
Nativity Flap Book
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
A Christmas Carol
Thomas's Christmas Delivery
Mortimer's Christmas Manger
The Night Before Christmas

I was in heaven sorting through them; I love categorizing! First, I took out all the ones that told the story of Christ's birth. Then I separated that batch into two piles: those told from the perspective of the stable animals and those told in another narrative form. I was quickly realizing that Christmas books for younger aged children have lots of animal narrators and main characters.

When I got to the non-Christ-birth-story pile I sorted out all the ones that still have a Christ centered message. That left a decent pile of whacky, fun Christmas books -- the ones starring my kid's favorite book characters (Nell loves Llama, Llama, Reid loves David, and they both love Thomas and George). Next I tried to eliminate one or two from each pile -- this was the hardest part. With one exception: Charlie and the Christmas Kitty by Rhee Drummond. That book has to go back to the library! I thought I'd love it, as Bassett Hounds are my favorite dogs, but the writing and story line were both fairly mediocre. The best thing about the book is the end. Because it is over, but also because Pioneer Woman shares a Christmas Cookie recipe. I'm sure her family loves the book and it might be a treasure to others, but I'm sticking with what Rhee does best -- baking!

The other books that didn't make the cut were: Polar Express, it just fits an older crowd better; Turkey Claus, because I thought it'd be fun to read during this week of Thanksgiving; and The Christmas Giant, a decent story with excellent drawings. And I still have a couple holds that the library hasn't fulfilled yet. In the end the calendar has us reading 26 books from the night our tree goes up until Christmas Eve. 

Once I had my piles all sorted out I started creating order. At first I thought I'd just group books by week, in an effort to balance the fun with the spiritual, but in the end I detailed things right down to the day. I figured A Wish to be a Christmas Tree was perfect for the evening of our Christmas Tree decorating, and some of the more spiritual ones I strategically placed on a Sunday evening. I tried to save some "best for last" books -- mainly the classics -- but I also tucked some "worst for last" books into those final days before Christmas. Reid loves Thomas's Christmas Delivery, but after two years of reading it nearly every night in December Ben and I need a break. 

After we put the kids to bed I busied myself wrapping the books up. I was able to use up all our old Christmas wrap, plus some packaging wrap we had lying around. As we read them throughout the Christmas Season I may come back and review them. I definitely want to keep track of star ratings for myself, so that I know which ones to get next year, but I also think it might be helpful to other's who would enjoy this kind of advent. I'd rank them now, but I want to see which ones my kids fall in love with before deciding what will be on next year's list. 

But spoiler alert, I can already tell you which two will be my favorite: The Christmas Train by Thomas S Monson and Christmas is Here by Lauren Castillo

1 comment:

Mom said...

Where is "The Little Match Girl?" Love the idea and I to love Christmas books, movies, music, the whole shabang! Happy 24 days of Bedtime!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...