There is nothing I love more about the holiday season than that powerful impetus to draw closer as a family– to spend even more time together, sharing everything, including our bedtime stories. I’ve been enjoying so much the nights when all four of us pile into Max’s bed for bedtime reading.
Among our favorite Christmas books this year is Sacred Songs of Christmas: A Family Treasury, which comes with a lovely CD of carols sung by little voices. Grandma Vicki gave it to us as a gift a few Christmas’ ago. We have been ending our bedtime stories with a short reading about a traditional carol, and then singing and listening to the carol. Max seems to enjoy contemplating its meaning after we read; it is precious to see! The book is chockful of neat tidbits, crafts, stories, poems, scripture, odes, and histories. There is also a section on how to refocus on the sanctity rather than the consumerism of Christmas, including ideas like:
- Have your whole family participate in your church or community nativity. Take a photo and hang it on your tree or send it in Christmas cards.
- Set up a creche, but don’t include the Jesus or Wise Man figures. As the family goes to bed on Christmas Eve, have the youngest child place the Jesus figure in its proper spot. Then, on Epiphany, have the oldest children add the wise men.
- Attend Advent candlelight services as a family, but leave the little ones in their PJs.
- Give anonymous gifts. Bishop Nicholad, the original Sinter Clausen, was legendary for his anonymous gifts. Often when a person receives an anonymous gift, Jesus gets the credit. You also might share with your child that giving to another person in Jesus name is like giving a gift to Jesus.
In addition to this special book, we are also enjoying the following holiday books, which I highly recommend:
- Santa Grows Up in Mother Goose Land by Ruth W. Waldrop– I must add that I’ve had this book since I was a wee one and only recently noticed the inscription in the front: “This book is dedicated to all the children of the world…. (and then in Mrs. Waldrop’s handwriting) and to Dr. Stefanescu, who has a personal interest in the artist and author.” My sweet mother the healer.
- Santa Mouse, Where Are You? by Michael Brown– A happy little book that might add a new tradition to your family tree.