Monday, November 21, 2011

Christmas Advent Calendars - Part One

I really, really love Christmas. And I love the time leading up to it all December long. One thing I have always enjoyed doing, as a child and as a mom, is having an advent calendar to help me count down the days until Christmas morning finally arrives.

I have done lots of things over the years, and now have a few favourite advent calendar traditions. Yes, I said traditions with an 's.' We have several advent calendars going during the month. So I thought I'd take a post or two (or three or four) to show you our advent calendars and then if you see something you like, there will be time for you to put it together before December starts.

This first one is a storybook advent calendar. Every December evening when I tuck the kids in bed, I like to read them a different Christmas story. Some I have fallen in love with, have purchased, and make sure we do every year. Others are just whatever I have found at our local library. These are usually the ones that are character based, like Fancy Nancy or Franklin. They aren't my favorites, but my kids really enjoy them, and since that is the whole point, I go along with it. When setting out the order, I try to mix up classics with new stuff. A few based on songs they love, a few that teach a nice Christmasy lesson, and some that are just silly and fun. I like to have things jumbled up together.

Here is what our line up looks like this year:

December 1st: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.

-I have always loved this book. It was the first Christmas story book I ever purchased, and I didn't even have kids yet.

December 2nd: A Porcupine in a Pine Tree; A Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas

-My brother passed this on to me last year, saying he thought I'd like it. He was right. It is delightful.

December 3rd: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert May

-Who doesn't love this holiday classic?

December 4th: Franklin's Christmas Gift by Paulette Bourgeois

-Cute enough. Not something I'm going to order off amazon though.

December 5th: We Three Kings by Gennady Spirin

-The text is the words to the carol, and the illustrations are amazing. Beautiful!

December 6th: Bear Stays Up for Christmas, by Karma Wilson.

- A cute story about Bear. My littler ones love it.

December 7th: The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Fred Marcellino

-Sad story, really. But very beautiful to look at as you read.

December 8th: Room for a Little One, by Martin Waddell.

-Takes place in the stable where Mary and Joseph rest. A nice, gentle story.

December 9th: A Wish to be a Christmas Tree, by Colleen Monroe

-I wish it wasn't done in rhyme, but other than that I really like this one. December 10th: Clifford's Christmas, by Norman Bridwell.

-Not a real fan of it, but my kids were given it several years ago from a friend and they just love it, so what else can I do?

December 11th: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski

-Has a positive message about the spirit of the season and its ability to change you.

December 12th: The Twelve Days of Christmas, by Don Daily

-Fun illustrations of animals acting out the action on each day.

December 13th: Frosty the Snowman by Richard Cowdrey

-Original lyrics to the classic song, with sweet illustrations.

December 14th: Fancy Nancy and the Splendiferous Christmas

- Because I love my six-year-old daughter.

December 15th: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

-We read a short, abbreviated version every year, but I think that my big kids might be old enough to read a chapter a night with me. We'll see....

December 16th: The Wild Christmas Reindeer, by Jan Brett

-I am a sucker for almost anything Jan Brett.

Decmeber 17th: Christmas Cookies: Bite Size Holiday Lessons, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

-Completely wonderful. Charming.

December 18th: Its Christmas David, by David Shannon

-Because I love my eight-year-old son.

December 19th: A Christmas Dress for Ellen, by Thomas S Monson

-A warm your heart and make you tear up story.

December 20th: Good King Wencelas, by J.M Neale

-The text is the classic song, the illustrations are hauntingly beautiful.

December 21st: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss

-A must.

December 22nd: The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry

-Christmas means giving something up to make someone else happy.

December 23rd: Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer

-Kind of the same situation as the Clifford's Christmas book. Nothing really wrong with it, just not my thing.

December 24th: Twas the Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Matt Taveres

-Have to read a version of this on Christmas Eve, right? I like this edition for it's black and white pencil drawings. Amazing.

So that is my plan for the countdown this year. Obviously, there are more stories out there that are great, and we'll read some of them too, I'm sure. But these are the ones that I am specifically saving for the advent calendar.

Can't wait!

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