The calendar has clicked over. It’s December. And with that I can cast off all my usual restraint and become unapologetically and unreservedly Christmassy. Bring on the boughs of holly!
I love Christmas; from the first hint of tinsel and icing sugar all the way through the day itself and on to Epiphany. Unlike last year when I tried to entice Elma into the world on her 1 December due date with a Christmas tree dripping with baubles and lights (note: it wasn’t terribly effective), we haven’t got a tree – yet. But the Christmas village is set out on a spare square of quilt wadding on our dresser, adored by Elma for the slowly circling Father Christmas and the little twinkle lights, and by Kitty who’s working on ‘stealthy’ as she tries to balance her deep desire to rearrange with our request to not touch.
That the house is already covered in a fine patina of sparkle, only some of which was successfully scrubbed from Kitty’s scalp last night has more to do with a little Daddy-daughter glitter party on Sunday morning while Elma and I cooked lunch than anything truly advent related, but we’re embracing that which the hoover cannot quite extract from the carpet as part and parcel of the joy.
And with the carol CD in the car, and Michael Buble on the computer, it seems silly to be talking about anything other than Christmas stories.
For our family, Christmas is about more than Santa and stuffing, nice as the stuffing is, and so it seems only fitting to start with the Nativity story.
The Christmas Bible Storybook was an advent present to Kitty from my parents when she was one and a smidge. We spent an afternoon at my sister’s house and as we all wallowed in the comfortable sensations of gorgeous food, lots of twinkle lights, and The Snowman playing in the background, she toddled between us, book in hand, turning the pages for whoever was reading – usually long before they’d finished the words.
And now it’s Elma’s turn to love it, hug it, refuse to be parted with it, and snap the pages shut on anyone who wants to read anything other than the page where “the shepherds went home very happy because they had seen Jesus, God’s Son”
It’s a very simple retelling of the Nativity story, but all the key elements are there: a baby, the stable, shepherds, hosts of heavenly angels, and three wise men.
And the pictures are just so cute; beautifully staged plump little cloth figures with nice simple expressions so that they’re easy for babies to understand, they appeal in the same way that makes me love the needle felted Cozy Classics books.
And judging by the number of times that we’re read this as a bedtime story in the last week, and that week in July when it became rather popular, it’s lost none of its charms for Kitty either, it’s just now that she has to battle Elma for page turning privileges.
Regardless of whether the girls follow us into our faith or find their own path, I want them to know what we believe and why we celebrate at Christmas, and, taking our lead from the man himself, that starts with a story.
And now it’s over to you. I don’t quite have enough Christmas books to read a new one for every day of advent, so if you’ve been reading anything that you love, please link up in the comments. And if you’re feeling a little stuck, and want a few ideas for a little something literary to go under the tree this year, you might like the What We’re Reading Booklist, featuring every book that anyone has ever suggested as part of What We’re Reading. If you already own them all, then I can only congratulate you on a most excellent library!