Tag Archives: Christmas

Christmas Eve Books

For the last day of our Advent of Christmas books, we have been enjoying quite a varied selection.  The list of stories we wanted to read, and activities we planned to do, was so long that of course we haven’t got to the end of it, but we’ve had a good try.

Monkey and Rabbit have been trying out the Star Paws Animal Dress-Up Christmas Sticker Book which was sent to us by the lovely people at Macmillan.  They both liked it, and had fun dressing up the animals in silly Christmas outfits.

star paws 1 one

Early in the evening Tiddler and I had a lovely quiet time together singing along to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, A Lullaby Book with Lights and Music, and then I read Thomas’s Christmas Party to him.

twinkle twinkle little star

thomas christmas party

And later on I read to Owl.  We started with Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”, from The Christmas Book, compiled by James Reeves.

christmas book james reeves

He then read by himself for a while.  He had been asking about the story of Scrooge, so I found him a copy of Dickens’ Christmas Books and he made a start on A Christmas Carol.  After a while, I took over and read a bit more to him.  He is enjoying it and was even laughing out loud in places.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest of it with him, though I think he might finish it before I get the chance.

a christmas carol

We have enjoyed our Advent of Christmas books, and I think it will become a family tradition.  There are so many books and poems I want to share with the children, and twenty-four days just wasn’t enough.  But Christmas isn’t over yet, so I’m sure we’ll be reading some more over the next twelve days.   If nothing else, we must read this one – it should have been this evening, but we ran out of time.

The Oxen, by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.

‘Now they are all on their knees,’

An elder said as we sat in a flock

By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where

They dwelt in their strawy pen,

Nor did it occur to one of us there

To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave

In these years! Yet, I feel,

If someone said on Christmas Eve,

‘Come; see the oxen kneel

‘In the lonely barton by yonder coomb

Our childhood used to know,’

I should go with him in the gloom,

Hoping it might be so.

Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas

Our Christmas book today was Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas.

little grey rabbit's christmas

Alison Uttley’s classic story of Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas was first published in 1939, and has remained popular ever since.  The heartwarming story of Little Grey Rabbit and her woodland friends is complemented by Margaret Tempest’s beautiful illustrations.

Little Grey Rabbit goes to the market and brings back a sledge for her friends Squirrel and Hare.  But when Hare loses it in the snow, will they ever see it again?

This lovely Christmas story is perfect to read aloud to little ones, and would also be suitable for children who are learning to read.  When asked about the appeal of her characters, Alison Uttley said, “Why do children love them?  Because I believe in them.”

Christmas around the World

This post is written by Owl.

Our Christmas book for today is from the Usborne Young Reading series.  It is called “Christmas around the world.”

christmas around the world

This book is about all the different Christmas traditions all over the world.  These are the most interesting facts I found out:

  • When Christmas trees were first used in Eastern Europe, they were hung upside down.
  • Some people think that Santa lives in Lapland, but others think he lives in the North Pole.
  • In 1843, the artist John Callcott Horsley invented the first ever Christmas card.

Around the world, people eat different foods at Christmas time.


Roast turkey

Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Ireland, Nigeria and the United States

Boiled cod in creamy sauce


Spicy chicken stew


Roast eel


Roast pig


One day I would like to have Christmas in Finland so that I can try the cod in creamy sauce.

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it.

The Christmas Book

This afternoon I read The Christmas Book to Rabbit and Tiddler.  This simple picture book by Dick Bruna, the creator of Miffy, was one of my favourites as a child.

the christmas book

It tells the story of the nativity in a perfectly clear and simple way for little children to understand.  The pictures are lovely, and wonderfully easy to copy which is great fun – we might do that tomorrow.  If you only buy one Christmas book for your children, make it this one!

Lulu’s Christmas

Tonight we read an old favourite for our Christmas story at bedtime.  Lulu’s Christmas is an interactive book for young children, with tabs to pull, touch-and-feel elements and a pop-out present at the end.

lulu's christmas

Lulu is excited about Christmas and there is lots to do.  She decorates the tree, ices the cake, builds a snowman and hangs her stocking.  On Christmas day, she opens all her presents.  But which will be her favourite?  Young readers will enjoy sharing in Lulu’s excitement as she prepares for the big day.

Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present

This evening, our bedtime story was Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present, by John Burningham, which is one of our library books.

Harvey Slumfenburger

It is Christmas Eve and Father Christmas and his reindeer are very tired after delivering all the presents.  They have something to eat and then Father Christmas tucks up the reindeer in bed.  He gets into his pyjamas and climbs into bed, when he suddenly realises he has one present left in his sack.  So he gets up again, puts his coat on over his pyjamas and sets off on a journey to the home of Harvey Slumfenburger, who lives in a hut at the top of the Roly Poly Mountain, which is far, far away.  He doesn’t want to disturb his reindeer so he must find other ways to travel.

We all enjoyed the story, and especially the illustrations.  It was perfect to read aloud to the little ones, and the big boys enjoyed reading it themselves afterwards.  It’s a lovely book, and a great library discovery – we’ll be looking out for it again next year!

The Christmas Treasure Hunt

I haven’t quite managed a post a day in Advent as I planned.  We read this lovely book yesterday, but then I went out in the evening and got back too late to write anything.

The Christmas Treasure Hunt

The Christmas Treasure Hunt, Ag Jatkowska, Macmillan, £9.99

The story is sweet and simple, and the illustrations are beautiful and detailed.  The children enjoyed lifting the flaps and they loved the giant pop-up tree at the end.  I’m too tired to write anything that will really do this book justice, but it is wonderful and it would make a perfect Christmas present.  Thank you to the lovely people at Macmillan for sending it to us!


The Christmas Show

This evening’s bedtime story was The Christmas Show and we all loved it.  I read it first to Tiddler, then to Rabbit and then the big boys took it in turns to read it in bed.

the christmas show

The Christmas Show by Rebecca Patterson, Macmillan, Paperback, £5.99.

This very funny book tells the familiar story of a child who has a small part in the nativity play – “… in this show I think I am almost nothing.”  A few small mishaps occur, but the show goes on and the little boy is happy in the end, because not everyone cares if he sings at the wrong time or dances the wrong way.

Tiddler is, of course, an expert on the subject of nativity plays, having recently played an angel in his preschool show last week.

my angel

He also played a king in our Home Education group nativity from scratch yesterday, then went to a carol service at Granny’s (Paul’s mum’s) church afterwards and gatecrashed their nativity too, as did Rabbit, who was an angel.  Monkey (who was Joseph in our play) and Owl (the narrator) were more restrained at the church, though Owl (with a bit of help from Rabbit and Tiddler) sang “I’m a Little Christmas Cracker”, accompanied by Granny on the piano.

We enjoyed the book, and the conversations it prompted.  Tiddler particularly liked talking about the shows he has been in, and the parts he has played.  I now have the tricky job of persuading him to consider being something else for the nativity at the church near his other Granny’s house next weekend.  He’s been given the choice of being a shepherd or an animal, but he won’t be parted from his king costume.  We might have to adapt it!


A Single Star

We had another busy day today.  Church this morning, and then our Home Education Group party with Nativity Play from scratch!  Straight after that, we went to Granny’s church for a carol service, and then back to her house for supper.  By the time we were home it was after 9pm, and the children needed to go straight to bed.  I decided that a shared story time might wake them up too much, so I read some Christmas poems to them when they were in bed, first to the little ones and then to the big boys.  The poems were from A Single Star, a collection of poems that I have had since I was a child.

a single star

This is a varied collection of songs, carols and poems, some well known and some less so.  A lot of the poems are more suitable for older children, but there are some that are simple enough for the little ones to understand too.  I particularly enjoyed reading one of my childhood favourites to all of the children – “How Far to Bethlehem?” by Frances Chesterton.

How far is it to Bethlehem?

Not very far.

Shall we find the stable-room

Lit by a star?

Can we see the little child,

Is He within?

If we lift the wooden latch

May we go in?

May we stroke the creatures there,

Ox, ass and sheep?

May we peep like them and see

Jesus asleep?

If we touch His Tiny hand

Will He awake?

Will He know we’ve come so far

Just for his sake?

Great kings have precious gifts,

And we have naught;

Little smiles and little tears

Are all we brought.

For all weary children

Mary must weep.

Here on His bed of straw

Sleep, children, sleep.

God in His mother’s arms,

Babes in the byre

Sleep as they sleep who find

Their heart’s desire.

The Usborne Christmas Treasury

This evening Paul and I sang in our carol concert, and Owl and Monkey came with Granny to watch.  We were very pleased that some good friends came  too (a home education group family), as we haven’t seen them for a while.  By the time we got home, it was late and the little ones were asleep.  While Paul took the babysitter and our friends home, I read to the big boys.  We were very tired, and it didn’t feel like time for something new, so we got out our Usborne Christmas Treasury, an old favourite, and read the story of the Nutcracker.

usborne christmas treasury

This is a lovely illustrated collection of Christmas stories, carols, songs and activities and it is suitable for children of all ages.