If you aren’t following Julie’s instagram account, you are missing out. She has a sweet feed of beautiful books and fun activities to do with kids throughout Washington DC. I’m so honored to have her join the 12 Days of Guest Bloggers.
If you missed the first couple of days, check out:
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year. Christmas brings a whole month (or more) of lights and decorations, yummy food and treats, music and activities, friends and family, and most of all, celebrating Christ’s birth. As a girl, I remember laying on the couch in the dark, watching the lights dance on the Christmas tree. As a teenager I took over the Christmas decorating, sometimes starting right after Thanksgiving dinner had been cleaned up, and keeping it up through Three King’s Day on January 6th. I think my oldest, who just turned 4, is picking up some of my excitement for the season. We often take drives in the evenings to look at Christmas lights in the area, at his request.
Christmas picture books have become a sweet little corner of our Christmas observance since having children. Last year we started a Christmas book advent. Reading a new book every evening about the season helped us to take time every day to pause from all the busyness and just enjoy the season. Our calendar includes books of all kinds: Christ-centered, Santa Claus and his reindeer, stories of kindness and giving, classics, and more. My favorite ones are those that are quiet, sweet, and thoughtful; all qualities that I try to emphasize at this time of year.
One of our favorites is “Drummer Boy” by Loren Long. It tells the story of a little toy drummer boy who is given to a boy and by accident ends up on a journey to different places, carried by man, wind and animal. At each new place, the Drummer Boy meets a new character and each time, despite fear, cold, and loneliness, he plays his drum for them because that’s what he knows how to do. Each time his simple act warms the heart of the character he plays for until the end, when he returns to the boy. Filled with the spirit of Christmas after hearing the Drummer Boy’s song, the boy places the drummer boy in the nativity display in his home. The Drummer Boy plays for the baby Jesus and this time it is the Drummer Boy’s heart that is warmed.
This sweet version of the Drummer Boy’s story is told with the same patience that the Drummer Boy displays as he is carried from place to place not knowing if he will ever be returned to the boy and the coziness of a warm home. In each place, the drummer boy overcomes his feelings and seeks to bring comfort to the characters he encounters. He simply does what he knows best and that makes all the difference to those he meets. There are so many lessons that can be gleaned from the Drummer Boy about patience, perseverance, kindness, and serving others. The Drummer Boy also teaches us — maybe most importantly — to give our best no matter what circumstances we might find ourselves in or how we may be feeling. By giving what we can, we forget ourselves and enlarge our hearts, making room for more. The beautiful acrylic pictures, dominated by blues and greys, help readers feel the quietness and specialness of the story.
Christmas is so many things, just like the Drummer Boy’s story. May we take time to experience and feel all of them this season. Merry Christmas!
I am a stay-at-home-mom; a wife; a hometown explorer; a former research librarian, library lover, children’s librarian wannabe. I started @flyingelephantsdc on Instagram this summer to share my love of children’s books and things to do with kids in the DC area.