December Happenings!

We have taken a break from Five in a Row to focus on Christmas literature.  I have created a ’24 Days of Christmas Books’ box for the children.  I wrapped 24 Christmas books, some are new, some are old, some are classics, and some are newer takes on the holiday.  They all went into the special box under the tree.  Each day the children get to pick one book to unwrap and read, and we focus on the message of that story, and often do an accompanying activity.

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The books we have read in the past 16 days:

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  • What Is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams – this is a sweet story explaining to young children that while holiday traditions (cookies, stockings, trees, toys) are fun, Jesus is the true reason we celebrate Christmas.
  • The Christmas Story – We have three different versions we have read so far, and the children are enjoying learning about the Nativity.  I pulled out their Nativity play-set and we set it up and acted out the Christmas story, as well as learning Christmas songs like “Away in a Manger” and “We Three Kings”.
  • The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs – This is story with a great message for children.  A Christmas tree farmer’s wife saves the most beautiful tree for herself, but selflessly decides to sacrifice her own feelings and gives it away to a poor family in need, which brought them great joy.  We talked about how Jesus also made a huge sacrifice for us to have joy in our lives.
  • The Most Beautiful Tree by Charlotte Zolotow – This is a longer story about a man whom is snubbed by his neighbors because he decides to purchase a small, weak tree and plant it in front of his home.  For many years, he takes care of the tree, and finally all the birds come to live in his beautiful evergreen which is the healthiest, most beautiful tree on the street.
  • Santa and the Christ Child by Nicholas Bakewell – This was a book from my childhood passed down to my children.  Libby especially loved this book and asked to read it several times in a row.  A boy shows up to help Santa after he breaks his leg, building him a new sleigh to help him deliver toys.  After the toys are delivered, the boy takes Santa to see where he was born – in the Manger.  Santa is healed and drops to his knees to worship.  A sweet story for all ages.
  • Santa’s Surprise – This was a book from the dollar bin at Target!  Short and sweet 🙂
  • Christmas Around the World by Callipe Glass – This is actually a Disney book that illustrates Christmas traditions in other countries around the world, including the United States, Holland, South Africa, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea, Brazil, Australia and France.  This adorable book came with a sticker activity and we also learned how to say “Merry Christmas” in many different languages.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer adopted by Rick Bunsen – We enjoyed this classic story, and learned the song.  I hope to also watch the movie before the holiday season is over.
  • Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – This story chronicles Laura’s Christmas festivities in her log cabin in the woods many years ago.  I have always enjoyed this series, and I hope to read more from this series in the future!
  • The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown – This touching story tells the tale of a small tree that is taken from the field to the home of a boy who is unable to walk.  The tree gives the boy great joy each Christmas season.  One year, the small fir tree waits to be taken to the boys’ home, but nobody comes.  Amazingly, we learn at the end that the boy is now able to walk and decides to come to the tree instead of having the tree come to him.  The illustrations are beautiful!
  • The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Scarry – This awesome books tells the story of a small bear who ‘smells Christmas’.  It actually has 6 scratch and sniff scents within the pages including gingerbread, peppermint, hot cocoa, pine, and more!  The kids have loved this book and I can see it becoming a favorite for many years.  It opened discussion about our sense of smell!
  • Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett – A spin on the classic gingerbread man story, about a gingerbread baby cookie who runs away and everyone chases him.  A boy outsmarts the cookie in the end!
  • The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett – Another great story by Jan Brett about a young girl who is training Santa’s reindeer for the big night.  She learns that gentle words and a soft heart go a long way.  The illustrations are beautiful in these books, as well.
  • The Night Before Christmas, The Classic Edition by Clement C. Moore – Of course, we had to read The Night Before Christmas, and will read it many more nights before Christmas!  The children are loving the flowing words and melodic rhyme. 

We will continue unwrapping Christmas books up until Christmas Eve!  This has certainly been a special activity this year.

We also attended our local Christmas parade this year in Lemoore.  While this was not their first parade, I believe they were more excited than I’ve seen them before over a parade, pointing at the floats and actually squealing with joy!  I love these ages and pure joy they have in their hearts.

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Watching the parade and sipping hot cocoa of course!

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We set up and decorated our tree, and made tree ornaments to hang up!

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I have been working on sewing new stockings for our family!  They are quilted scrappy stockings made from remnant holiday fabric.  I’m working on the other two now, and hope to have them finished soon!

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Playing with our Nativity:

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Santa flew into Daddy’s hanger on a F18 jet just to visit us!  Libby had a nice chat with Santa, but Ian was very timid, only hanging around to get his gift, and then he ran away 🙂

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We are keeping up on our day-to-day work slowly, continuing with reading and math.  The children are still enjoying their readingeggs.com game, and are also playing reinforcing games and worksheets.  Elizabeth now reads her “-at” and “-an” family words fluently, and also knows more sight words.  She loves reading and is so proud of herself!  We continue to work on counting and number sequencing, as well as simple graphing with Singapore K Math A when she requests it.  

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We have also made several batches of cookies for our local cookie brigade to disperse to single soldiers in our area.  The kids really love baking. 

We’re having such a nice holiday season and we are especially enjoying having Daddy home to celebrate with us for the first time since Elizabeth was 4 months old!  What a blessing to have our family together ❤  Wishing you all a great holiday season, as well!

One thought on “December Happenings!

  1. I love the idea of a new book every night during the Christmas season! What fun you are having and beginning all your own new Christmas traditions that will go on for many years to come! So very glad that Alex is able to enjoy the holidays with you all this year, I know its his favorite time of year! Love you all!

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