12/11/08

An Education in Christmas

Sebastian was old enough to get parts of Christmas last year. How to rip into a present, for instance. This year, however, with new words being spoken daily (breaths deep sigh of relief) I've decided to introduce him to the concept of Santa Claus and the childlike, magical side of Christmas.
SouleMama has long been a resource for ways to earn the mother of the year award. One of the things I remember from her blog is how they have a huge library of books but rotated them with the seasons. She's a very clever mama. This not only saves space and extends the shelf life of your books, it creates a sense of anticipation for the books to come.

I picked up 'Olive, The Other Reindeer' sometime this summer at a garage sale purely for the front cover. The illustration had me at 'Hello'. That said, I hadn't actually read it until this afternoon before Sebastian's nap. I pointed out that Olive was a dog with an identity crisis due to some mumbly Christmas carol on the radio who helped Santa and his reindeer crash their sleigh but then saved the day by doing what dogs do best ~ sniffing and fetching.

Traditional Christmas stories are on the list but I felt this was a good way to whet his appetite for more. If you've got kids, you know how fun this book is, and if you haven't, I suggest you humor me and find it at your local library. The illustrations alone are worth it.

What are some of your favorite holiday childrens' books? If you've got children, how have they responded to Santa Claus? When did you find out the TRUTH about Santa? Did you cry?

xo
Rachel

21 comments:

Stacey said...

What a great book. One of my children's favorite Christmas books is "Ho, Ho, Ho, Tucker!". I can't tell you how many times I've read it. My children are all under 6 so they still believe in Santa Claus, although I've started getting questions like how does he get in if you don't have a fireplace, how does he get to all the houses in one night?, etc. We've been able to keep them believing, but I'm worried the day will arrive to soon when they know the truth. I found out about Santa when I was 7 or 8. I had a cousin 4 yrs older than me and she was looking after me and my two younger siblings. It was thundering and we were talking about God bowling and she promptly set us straight on every Holiday figure. No Easter Bunny, no Santa, no nothing. My 4 yr old sister burst out crying and didn't stop till my parents came home. I was so sad, cried and felt disillusioned. But thankfully my mom was Christmas crazy and I was able to feel wonder again.

smauge said...

haven't seen that one before. When I was young I had "a night before christmas" and it still hold a special place in my heart. MY son is 6 and last year he discover the Polar Express. This to him was the absolute gospel on all there is to know about Santa. It's a magical movie

Martha-Anne said...

Elf on the Shelf is one my sister is reading to her kids this year! Website is www.elfontheshelf.com! :)

alexandra said...

Hi Rachel!

Here are some titles we love...
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
Dream Snow by Eric Carle
and
Snow Bears by Martin Waddell (this one's not about Christmas but it's a fun, snowy kind of book!)

I found out about Santa from 'my friend' - she was very happy to tell me - I was about 9 or 10 and it left me feeling shocked, disappointed and sad. It was fun to believe. Something so wonderful about believing in someone magical!

Happy Holidays and happy reading!!

Sara Ancich said...

Auntie Claus is a good one. But you have got to get "Elf on the Shelf" for your little guy when he starts asking too many questions. It put an immediate STOP to any curiosity in our house. Trust me. It will become a tradition year after year...
and yes, my sister tried to ruin it all for when I was 7...but it never worked...I still BELIEVE.

Sandy said...

What truth about Santa? ;)

We don't have too many Christmas books, but my boys especially like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I'm going to look for this one. The illustrations look fabulous!

Merry Christmas!

Heather said...

The movie was actually on tv the other night I think abc family was running it...I dig your blog, you inspire me daily and Sebastian could not be any cuter

Katherine said...

great book! my son will be five in january, and so far this is the best holiday season yet. he is old enough to completely get what is going on, but young enough to still be baffled by the mystery of santa. this is the first year he has been big enough to actually do christmas crafts with me, instead of just watching. i love the martha stewart craft kits at walmart to keep him busy if i need a few minutes to myself and they have some cute christmas puppets--we have done the elf and the snowman so far.
sorry for the craft excitement on a post about books!

*karen said...

I had a illustrated children's copy of the Nutcracker that I loved to death. Unfortunately,I stopped believing in Santa pretty early on. I was like, "How come Santa gives my friend new clothes and Barbie dolls but gives me new underwear and thank-you cards?" And my mom would say, "Now you can thank everyone who sent you a present!" She was thinking ahead, all right, but not very cleverly. I love my mom.

Stacy said...

What a great topic! Here are the books we're reading this season:
* Bob : and 6 more Christmas stories
* Christmas - an Usborne baby jigsaw book
* The Little Drummer Boy
* Santa's favorite story : Santa tells the story of the first Christmas

If you click through on these links, you can check to see if your library has them.

allison said...

robert sabuda makes beautiful christmas pop-up books.
i'm just beginning to start my christmas book collection, since there are still no littles on the horizon for me.

one of my favorite ideas that i've heard of, and am excited to do, is wrap up 25 christmas books. they go in a basket, and each day leading up to christmas, a child can pick a book to unwrap before bed, and that is their bedtime story. i think this is fabulous because these books only come out at christmas, and they are wrapped at first, so they don't always remember what books are there.

Ragazzarte said...

I absolutely ADORE this book. There is a TV special based on the book as well (but I have not seen it so cannot comment on its quality).
In my house the way it went was "Santa does not come to unbeleivers", so when we were pre-teens we knew to not even ask questions.
Even though now I am a Santa my parents still have not revealed the "truth".
My younger brother is 30 years old and still has a "Buddt the Elf" exuberance about Santa on Christams eve. he gets on the NORAD website and tracks the big man in red until bedtime. Hahaha

Margaret said...

I LOVE this book. My little man is still too little to fully appreciate books, but I've been starting his collection and reading to him every night before bed. I remember my mom reading The Grinch to me when I was little every year at Christmas. She also read a story of the first Christmas, but I don't remember the name of it. Cuddling up on the couch and reading in front of the Christmas tree with my mom is probably one of my favorite childhood memories! And I LOVE the soule mama blog! I asked for her book for Christmas. She is such an inspiring mother!

Anonymous said...

I love holiday books. This year we took a special trip to the library for only holiday books. I have a lot on our shelf too: What do Snowmen Do At Night, Polar Express, and the Gingerbread Baby. Being an elementary teacher, I keep an eye out for new ones for my 3 year old. This is the first year that he is really figuring things out and says that Christmas is "magic." It really is and I am reminded of that in my conversations and interactions with him. I am hoping we believe in Santa for a long time still :-)

meg said...

"Olivia Helps with Christmas" by Ian Falconer is hysterical (and the illustrations are groovy too)! And then there's Peter Spier's "Christmas"--really beautiful and nostalgic images (full of dirty dishes and wrapping paper all over the floor . . . ) of real-life Christmas celebrations. No words at all, story told entirely through images. Fun topic!

Mandi said...

Hmmmm my parents never told me Santa was real. And I've been thinking a lot recently about what I will do with my children. And I've come to a conclusion... and expect a blog post about it someday soon! :)

Melonie said...

We love Olive at our house too! Super cute. Another favorite is definately The Polar Express. So far my children still believe (they are 8 and 6) but with each passing year I savor the moments a little more because I know it won't be long until I have to pull out the old "Santa IS real but you must BELIEVE:)"

Michelle said...

I love the illustrations in the book too. We have it at the store I work in (year round xmas). I was very sad when I found out about Santa, but I don't remember crying.

Caroline said...

Have you seen the Valentine Olive book? Super cute too. We loved getting out the christmas books each year as a kid. We also would get out the walky-talkys (totally eigthies style) and try to contact Santa who would say "ho ho ho" or "merry christmas" in the beginning my parents would sometimes be in the same room doing it and we never had a clue! That kept us believing for many years. When i found out about Santa I remember asking "does that mean there is no Easter bunny?" lol If you don't already have the book "No, David" by David Shannon you must get it for him its not a christmas book but all kids love it and the illustrations are soo cute.

Caroline said...

My two-year-old doesn't really know about Santa yet. We saw him at the mall this year, and said, "Mommy, what is that man doing? He's so silly..." I then start looking around for silly men before realizing to whom she's referring.

When I was 8 or 9 my dad finally sat me down and had the Santa is not real talk. I was okay with it, but he failed to mention that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy were made up as well. I went right on believing in them for quite a while afterwards.

Cate said...

Olive the Other Reindeer is such a great book! The movie is just as good too! Great animation.

Merry Christmas!