Carrie and I are internet friends. We met in a Facebook group and have been following each other’s adventures on Instagram for several months. Our kids are the same age, and that helps in comparing book notes (LOL). I am so excited to have Carrie here today!
Reading At Christmas Time
I love books. And I also love holidays and traditions. As a little girl, one of my favorite parts of Christmas was sitting near the tree and reading Christmas stories by the glow of the Christmas lights … anything from the Christmas chapters of the Little House books to the story of Jesus’ birth straight from the book of Luke.
My love for books has grown with me into adulthood, especially now that I’m raising my own little readers. Books help us create a home that challenges our hearts and minds to grow and promotes big imaginations, dreams, joy, enthusiasm, love, and acceptance. And the warmth and joy and giving that most of us want to experience during the Christmas season are perfectly complimented by … books!
How to incorporate books and reading into your holiday traditions? I’m all about simple and this is as simple as it gets: get some holiday books. Read them. Read them snuggled by the tree, or in bed before everyone goes to sleep. Throw in some hot cocoa or candy canes or Christmas cookies if you like. Just read, and read often.
Christmas stories transport us to worlds where animals talk and experience the wonder of Jesus’ birth up close, where grinches steal all the Christmas stuff and then reform, where a little girl’s nutcracker doll comes to life, and where families long ago and far away celebrate holidays that are very different from ours –and yet in many ways, not so different. My little Kentucky boys may not experience many white Christmases during their childhoods, but we can join Laura and Mary Ingalls in Christmas in the Big Woods where they make candy out of fresh maple syrup and snow, and cousins come visiting in horse-drawn sleighs. Or we can join a particularly chilly Christmas celebration when we read Snowmen at Christmas.
Christmas books are a big part of our holiday, but this year will be our first using books to count down the days to Christmas –definitely not an original idea, but a good one! I’ve wrapped twenty-four Christmas books in brown paper (technically twenty-five, there’s a bonus book to read on Christmas Eve!) and attached a numbered tag to each package. Every day, beginning on December 1st, we’ll unwrap a book and read it together. Most of the books I wrapped are old favorites I’ve collected through the years, but there are some new surprises mixed in as well!
Over the next few weeks we’ll be reading The Night Before Christmas and Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd- Jones … A Pirate’s Twelve Days of Christmas and The Jolly Christmas Postman … Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree and The Crippled Lamb … plus many others, some serious and some silly.
But my personal favorite is a book we discovered last year, Mortimer’s Christmas Manger. This lovely story is by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman, the duo who brought us the “Bear” books such as Bear Snores On and Bear Wakes Up for Christmas. Mortimer is a mouse who tries to find shelter in a family’s nativity by kicking baby Jesus and the rest of the figurines out of the little stable. But when he overhears the humans in the home telling the story of the very first Christmas, Mortimer has a change of heart. It’s a story that lends itself to a fun hands-on activity: last year I bought a little stuffed mouse and we reenacted the story with our own little Mortimer + a kid-friendly nativity set!
Christmastime can be harried and hectic. Taking time to enjoy reading with your littles can be the perfect antidote to the stress of the season, providing a simple but profound way to connect meaningfully as a family. Merry Christmas y’all, and happy reading!