In the lead up to my husband's Christmas party (part of which we hosted) last week, we pulled out the decorations and, more importantly, all of our Christmas books. As fate would have it, my parents also brought the girls a new Christmas book so we continue to add to our collection - yay! Since my kids can't yet read this, I can also safely reveal that we will be adding several more to our collection in the next few days as part of our Countdown to Christmas. We lost our refillable advent calendar somewhere between here and last Christmas so I scanned Pinterest (of course!) and found these three great ideas (click images to follow links):
I've added a gift/treat/activity element to the blessings jar, including lots of books and most of the activities on the Christmas Bucket List, and ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, I have a new Christmas tradition. So far, the kiddos seem to like it, so that's a win for me!
So, with all of these Christmas books floating around the house, it seemed only fitting to share them with you. Here are some new picks and old favourites:
A Porcupine in a Pine Tree (Helaine Becker) - Canadiana at it's Christmas finest! This book is a hilarious version of the popular song, complete with Canadian cliches galore. My favourite? The ten Leafs-a-leaping...but never quite reaching... the 5 Stanley Cups. Awesome, just awesome. Perfect for all the Canucks on your list!
Dashing Through the Snow (Helaine Becker) - Porcupine is back in another healthy dose of Christmas in Canada. Although not quite as cheeky as the first book, this one is still a lot of fun as the uber-Canadian animals try to figure out which present belongs to whom. The illustrations in this one include beautiful backgrounds representative of the Canadian north, something which was not there in the first book. If I had to choose, I think I would pick the first one as my top choice but I certainly am happy we own both!
The Christmas Birthday Story (Margaret Laurence) - This one may be a little unfair to share, as it is out of print. If you can get your hands on a copy, however, you will be rewarded with a wonderfully told version of the birth of Jesus, a version which focuses on the family, the travel and the birth of the baby rather than the religious aspects of the story. The writing is wonderful and soothing and the illustrations are stunning, simply rendered line drawings coloured with bold, beautiful colours. One of my favourite Christmas books. I'm thrilled that my parents saved it to allow me to pass it along to my kids. Thanks mom and dad!
The Polar Express (Chris Van Allsburg) - This classic Christmas story is one of my favourites. I have read it to children of all ages and have always been able to hear a pin drop while I do; kids love the magic and mystery of this book and it's illustrations, which are just stunning. I have yet to see the movie and may never do so; this book is just so magical to me that I fear wrecking it if I see the movie. If I read nothing else at Christmas other than this and The Christmas Birthday Story, I would be happy.
The Christmas Orange (Don Gillmore) - I must confess I have yet to read this one but it comes highly recommended by Kristi, so that makes it a must-read this year! It's the story of a greedy young boy who hands Santa an extraordinarily long Christmas list, only to find a single orange under the tree come Christmas Day. Being the charming child that he is, he sues Santa and in the process discovers the true meaning of Christmas. I am looking forward to sharing this one because every year the onslaught of presents feels overwhelming to me (especially with little ones) and I silently crave a simpler, less materialistic season that focuses on family, friends, peace and joy.
Note - The Christmas Orange has been made in to a made for TV movie (released in 2002) and an adaptation featuring Al Simmons, filmed in Manitoba (find it here).
Snowmen at Christmas (Caralyn Buehner) - This fun book takes a peek at holiday traditions from a snowman's perspective - caroling, tree trimming, dancing and singing all take place while people sleep snug in their beds. The rhyming text is fun and the illustrations are quite cute. Perhaps not a Christmas classic, but certainly a fun addition to your collection.
It's Christmas, David! (David Shannon) - Who can resist the mischievous little David, especially as he runs down the street bare naked?! Shannon's portrayal of what a young child might hear at Christmas time is spot on, especially for little monkeys like my almost-3-year-old. The heartwarming ending to this book reminds me of how tiring the holidays can be for wee ones and how important it is to remember to say Yes to them more often than we say No, even if it's just a simple reframing of our answer. Once again, David is a winner.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about literacy, collaborative teaching and finding new and innovative ways to engage & motivate all kids. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!