I love Christmas.
It’s that time of the year we get to celebrate the birth of Christ with friends, family and the influx of non-stop commercials that trigger the “I want that!” attitude in my kids.
Can you relate? As your kids grow older, each Christmas gets a bit more challenging because everywhere they turn they are bombarded with ads, commercials, and sales that scream at them YOU NEED ME! BUY ME NOW!
These marketers certainly know how to get in the minds of kids. I once had my boys rattle off verbatim why I should buy some random “As Seen On TV” pillow they saw while watching cartoons. They also went through a phase where they just HAD to have those darn Pillow Pets that were constantly advertised on TV. Yes, I know you know about Pillow Pets. And I know, that just like me, you’ve bought at least one.
As a parent, how can you battle the marketing machine fighting for your kids’ minds this Christmas?
“Which book should we look in, Whyatt?” you ask.
Sorry, Whyatt is actually not going to answer that question because he’s a fictional character but a group of awesome bloggers will!
I have teamed up with nine other moms so that over the next few days you can get a glimpse of how we are using books and Christmas book activities to help our kids focus on what matters this season.
I love books. And coffee, and chocolate.
Of those three, however, only books have a way of reaching deep down inside our kids’ minds and souls, helping them learn and connect with ideas that would otherwise just sound overly moralizing or like mommy is being “bossy” if we just say it straight out.
After you read my book choice and activity below, make sure you take some time to look over everyone else’s book choices and activities, which I’m linking at the end of the post.
The Book: A Carol for Christmas
After several trips to the library, and the reading of many books, I finally decided on A Carol for Christmas by Ann Tompert because it was one of the few ones I read through that didn’t flood my eyes with tears. (There are some tearjerkers out there!)
Also, I’m a sucker for true stories though this author takes some liberties on the retelling of the story, in a good way, of course.
About the Book: Without giving away too much, A Carol for Christmas is the retelling of how the famous Christmas carol “Silent Night” was written one cold, snowy Christmas Eve in Austria in 1818. Narrated from the perspective of a mouse, Jeremy is desperate to find food after his family has been reduced to gnawing on the organ leather chords to fill their tummies. A cat is brought in to deal with the “mice problem,” but the damage they’ve done to the organ is irreparable before the Christmas Eve midnight mass. The pastor finds himself needing to write a song for the congregation to sing that night, and Jeremy finds himself inside the pastor’s coat pocket, where he becomes witness to the inspiration behind the hymn during his quest for food. It’s a sweet, funny story that reminds us to look for “Christ” in the everyday, and the illustrations are beautifully detailed.
Christmas Book Activity: Write Your Own Christmas Carol
- paper and pencils
- crayons or paint if the kids want to decorate their paper
- cheese and crackers for a snack in honor of Jeremy, the mouse, and his family
First, set the atmosphere. It’s not easy for kids to do creative writing, so make the atmosphere as inviting and stress-free as possible. Put on your happy face and play Pandora’s Classical Christmas music station in the background. Also, get some cheese and crackers to snack on, in honor of Jeremy and his family.
Second, find inspiration. In the book, the pastor goes for a walk to visit a family and ends up finding inspiration for his hymn. Do the same with the kids – go on a walk around the neighborhood or if it’s too hot where you live, like it is here in South Florida, then just pull out another book. We read the beautifully illustrated The Story of Christmas by Jane Ray, which tells of the birth of Christ as written in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, to get our creative juices moving.
Third, brainstorm ideas. I’ll warn you that the first thing you might hear is, “I don’t know what to write!” To overcome this brain freeze with the kids, you can write down on a piece of paper all the words that remind them of Christmas, all the way from Prince of Peace to Jolly Fat Man. Then, encourage them to choose two or three words to focus on. You may find that some of your kids will take off quickly, and others will need a bit more hand-holding.
Fourth, get funky with it. After your write your songs, make sure to sing them to familiar Christmas tunes. My boys definitely got a kick out of that.
Enjoy the Process
I feel the need to remind you, fellow mama, that this is one of those “the process is more important than the end product” activities. There’s a good chance your little one will not write the most movingly heartfelt carol. (Surprise!) Heck, he might not even write something that’s completely coherent.
But in the process, you will make great memories and remind each other why we celebrate this special time. And convince them Pillow Pets are a waste of money.
‘_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Christ-Focused Christmas Book Activities Blog Hop
We have all sorts of Christmas book activities, recipes and family fun inspired by different children’s Christmas books that share the real meaning of Christmas!
Make sure to follow along with our fabulous bloggers:
Mari at Inspired by Family takes on the book The Legend of the Christmas Cookie and gives you a great recipe for Reindeer Cookies.
Angela at Teaching Mama takes on The Legend of the Candy Cane with her beautiful candy cane ornament.
That’s me at Beautiful Messy Motherhood!
Check out Jodi’s fun nativity craft at Meaningful Mama inspired by Max Lucado’s The Crippled Lamb.
Julie at Happy Home Fairy has an easy manger craft to go along with the book M is for Manger. And she’s also giving away a copy of the book!
Leah at Simple. Home. Blessings. made a beautiful paper garland craft to go along with the book Who is Coming to Our House?
Make a Christmas sensory bag from Sharl at The Chaos and the Clutter to go along with I Spy Christmas.
Terri from Creative Family Fun shared an amazing felt bird ornament sewing tutorial to go along with the book The Birds of Bethlehem.
Sara at Sunshine Whispers has a great craft to make your own sparkle box to go along with The Sparkle Box.
Janine shares ideas on True Aim Education for your kids to create gifts for neighbors using their book, The Big Character Book.
*This post contains affiliate links.