Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's that time of year again... but I won't mention the "C" word

I know what I'm spending my weekend doing and that would be spending significant time figuring out the details of Christmas, oops I mean the "C" holiday. I need to take stock of what I have already stashed away, make lists of what I still need, and take a look at the calendar and figure out what we're doing when. As much as I don't want to do this, I know that I will feel better to take all the swirling thoughts out of my head and put them down on paper. My goal is always to have a grip on what will happen in December before Thanksgiving. This means I have nearly all the gift shopping done, or if it is not done, at least I know what exactly I still need to do. This not only frees me up to make the things which need to be made, but also, and more importantly, allows me to enjoy the holiday with my family.

I've written about all my advance planning before. You can find the posts at Advance Planning - Get a Cup of Tea, This is the Long Version and Advance Planning - The Short Version.

But looking at my friend Mary's post yesterday at Owl Haven, made me realize something. (She is still a virtual friend, but I would love to meet her in person some day.) Yesterday she wrote about Christmas books that her family has enjoyed over the years. While we do our Christmas book tradition in a slightly different way, we have a lot of Christmas books and I've never written about them. I'm not sure how I let such a oversight happen.

Our tradition is to bring out all of our Christmas books out at the beginning of Advent. We have a lot. Picture books, chapter books, anthologies, crafts... We have so many, I make it a point to return the library books and just have our Christmas books out in December. I need the shelf space, plus it would become completely unmanageable to have that many books around. On Christmas Eve there is always a new Christmas book waiting for everyone when we return from church.

So with thanks to Mary for a blog post topic (and apologies for completely and totally stealing it... go read her post as well, it will make me feel better), here are some of our very favorite Christmas books. (And a brief reminder that these are sponsored Amazon links which, if you purchase through them, give a little bit back to this blog. I think I'm required to mention that every so often.) They are in no particular order.

The first is Wombat Divine by Mem Fox. Our family is heavily involved in our church's Christmas pageant every year, so we have a particular affinity for such things. Wombat wants to be in the Christmas play, but can't find a part that works for him. It is sweet and charming and features Australian animals which is always fun.


Next, since I'm thinking about Christmas pageants comes The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. I'm sure many of you know about this book, but in case you have missed it, it is a short chapter book about what at first, seems to be the world's worst Christmas pageant populated by the world's worst children. You can laugh because you are not the director. I read this out loud nearly every year and every year finds me in tears at the end. Not only does it tell the Christmas story, but also shows what the overwhelming love of Jesus can do.



The next book to pop into my head is A Small Miracle by Peter Collington. This is a wordless book that is told in a rather comic book format. Normally this is the type of book that would not appeal to me at all. But it works and once again, it has a tendency to dissolve me to tears by the end. The plot is that an old woman runs out of money to buy food and her last attempt at earning money by playing her accordion on the street is fruitless. She is forced to pawn her beloved instrument in order to eat. As she walks by a church, a thief who has stolen the offering and upset the creche comes running out and grabs her money. She walks into the church and sets things right, then heads home collapsing on the way. Sounds fun so far, huh? But now comes the good part. Christmas is full of miracles and this story is no different. I don't want to spoil it, but the old woman survives in a rather unexpected way. Highly recommended.

(The picture link doesn't work well and just sent you to the Amazon home page, so I'm taking it out and linking the title above.)

On Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck is another beautiful book that everyone loves. It tells the story of a boy who is overcome with how much he loves his father and wants to do something special for him at Christmas. He doesn't have a lot of money and decides that he will get up extra early and do all the farm chores by himself as a surprise. We watch and the boy plans and executes his plan and the excitement and joy he has in offering this gift. It is a sweet and quiet story about familial love and the joy of gift giving.



This last one is just for fun and I won't even pretend it is a really good book, but it is G. and L.'s current favorite, and if truth be told, I bought it because when I was their age, it was my favorite Christmas book as well. It's The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher by Robert Kraus. I bet you can guess the plot. It's Christmas cookie baking day and to everyone's dismay, all the Christmas cookie sprinkles have been stolen. One brave little boy goes in search of the Snitch, which isn't hard because he leaves a vast trail of sprinkles behind him. (I actually think this trail of sprinkles is what causes every five year old on the planet to fall in the love the book.) But don't worry, all is well at the end and the cookies end up appropriately decorated. The verse is bad and has ear worm tendencies, but your littles will love it. 


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In my continuing effort to keep my readers unbalanced and never sure what to expect, I am now going to jump to something completely different. I have mentioned that I have a new (paid!) writing gig as a staff writer at Adoption.com. My first article is now up and I'd appreciate it if you were to click through to read it and share it if you like it. My bank account thanks you. Should My Child Forget They are Adopted? The Adoption Ethics of Forgetting.

1 comment:

Erika said...

My sweet sister in law introduced us to "Star mother's youngest child" and it has been a favorite of mine ever since. My mom also put a Christmas book under the tree every year. I think one of my favorites from early childhood was "The smells of Christmas" a scratch and sniff book. It doesn't tell the Christmas story, but the smells really did remind me of our Christmas traditions (Christmas tree hunting, oranges in stockings, gingerbread cookies, etc.)

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