Yesterday was the 12th day of Christmas, so that meant that today during naptime, the Christmas decor had to be packed away. Little Girl did catch me on my way out to the dumpster with her gingerbread house though, so that will have to stay out a few more days...
I have a couple of favorite Christmas traditions, like the dependable gifts in my stocking at my parents' house - cuticle oil, socks, gum... And cherry coke punch on Christmas Eve, but there are some new ones in my own little family, and I think our very best one is the countdown to Christmas with our Christmas books. I don't remember how I came across this idea - I'm certain that it was not my own though - probably I read it in a magazine many years ago or something. Anyway, every year after christmas, I use my leftover wrapping paper to wrap up all our Christmas books, and I store them with the decor. Then they sit the month of December on a step on the staircase, and each night leading up to Christmas, the stack gets shorter as our children take turns unwrapping a book every evening.
We read them together as a family, and how my heart leapt when I found out that this year when our oldest was asked by her teacher if our family had any Christmas traditions, this was the first one she thought of!
a couple of my favorites:
This is a darling story about Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree, which was too big to fit in his house! He cuts off the top and throws it away, and the rest of the book is a series of other creatures and critters finding a top of that top and of that top...and adding a little Christmas cheer to their home and the homes of others who find that next top... If you like doing lots of voices in your reading aloud, you will love this read!
I remember the year that someone at church gave our family this book for Christmas. I was expecting, and I read it aloud to our family after lunch, and cried and cried and cried. You do that when there is another life inside you. The story is actually set in the summer, but when a son decides to help his widowed mom pay the rent by going door to door selling their Christmas decorations, she and the neighborhood are reminded why we can say "all is well," even in times of very difficult providences. And I just got choked up again... When we open this one, my children say, "Dad has to read it! Mom will cry!"
The books are all wrapped and put away in the closet, but we have Christmas memories to last us all year. Happy New Year!