Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Tradition: Stories

Between house projects, surgery, and life in general, we are a little slow here in jumping into Christmas this year. We always launch right into things the day after Thanksgiving, but not this year. Gratefully we did finally get the tree up last night and with Aaron working feverishly into the wee hours of the morning each day, the projects are finished up and we are finally really getting into decorating mode.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is our nightly Christmas story. This is one that we could do each night despite the chaos of our home and family recently. I am hoping to share each day which story we read; some I may even put here on the blog for your reading enjoyment. I'll at least tell you which story it is, so that I can share some of our favorites-both old and new-and maybe they will be added to your list of favorites too.

I keep a big basket of Christmas books out each year so that they are available for everyone to dig into. I am a book nut, and I especially love picture books, so this is one of my favorite indulgences.

Two of our newcomers this year were the first books we turned to. (mostly becuase they weren't packed away with the other Christmas things, but who's counting?)

First-the comedy. Santaclaustrophobia.

I am a firm believer in the sacred side of Christmas, they real "reason for the season" if you will, but I also very much feel you should appreciate the fun and silly side of things. This book is genius. If you are a fan of Berkely Breathed (Goodnight Opus is a frequently read book here), this book runs the same style in my opinion.
Santa is having a meltdown (heard this story line before?), and all the holiday celebritites (Easter Bunny, Cupid, St Patrick, etc) jump in to help out. A hilarious fresh new take on that whole "Santa needs help" thing-definitely one that will be a must read for our family, many times each Christmas season.

" 'Aloha!' said Santa, as he sailed away
in his shorts and his shades and his Ban de Soleil.
'Folks,' I announced, 'this is going to be tricky.
So let us unit and win one for St. Nicky!'
Columbus cried, 'Bravo!'
Saint Pat said, 'Good Luck!'
The April Fool said, 'Hey, my zipper is stuck.' "

(Warning-the word "butt" is used once in this book. It's a word we try not to use in our home, so of course it received peels of giggles from the kids, and a reminder from mom that we don't use that word. Thus far, they've obliged.)

On the flip side, a more tender book. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.

Most of us are familiar with this Christmas Carol, but many do not know the story behind it. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of how Henry Wadsworth Longfellow came to pen those lines that were originally a poem and became the longstanding song. The story is beautiful and humbling.
Aaron and I went to a concert last year where this story was read and it took everything in me to control my emotions. It was beautiful. Here is part of that:

The book comes with a DVD of the recording above, as well as that transcript, the actual story, and history tidbits that enrich the story and explain some of the common things of the day to younger kids so that they understand parts of the story more easily-though they certainly aren't necessary in reading. (thankfully they are written off to the side, so you can choose to include them in your reading or not)

So now you know how we've launched into the season here at the nuthouse. I'd love to hear what your favorite Christmas stories are-we are always looking to add to our collection!