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Friday, December 21, 2012

Writing Fun as Christmas Gifts

If you don't have any ideas for some fun, literacy-inspired Christmas gifts yet, it's not my fault. Ha! I know I've been loading you up with gift posts this month. Sorry, I guess I was just inspired.

Today I'm sharing a little fun gift I made for four of my nieces. They all enjoy writing, and "doing work", and sending and receiving mail. So I ordered some cute little mailboxes from Joanne's and then loaded them up with some neat office and writing supplies. I would have loved something like this as a kid!

I painted the girls' names in the side of their mailboxes, and bundled up all the various supplies. My kids have been watching me put these together and now asking for little mailboxes and stationary for themselves.

Photo by Polka Dot Chair
I think something like this one pictured above would be perfect outside my kids' bedrooms. I love the idea of stuffing all their junk in it that they leave around the house too! Hee. Check out more info on this idea HERE.

I hope my nieces have as much fun using their mailboxes and supplies as I had in putting them all together. Maybe I'll get some mail from them too! Ooo, I should have included some self addressed envelopes! Might have to go throw a few of those in!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Our Favorites At Christmas

We all know there are about a zillion Christmas picture books out there. Some are wonderful, and some... not so much. But every family has a stack that stays in regular rotation year after in their family; maybe because it's an awesome books, or maybe because it holds some special meaning for their family.  So today I'm sharing my family's favorite Christmas books, and why we like them so much.

If you have kids that love Legos, than you need to check out the Brick Bible series. My boys and I both love the cool Lego illustrations that bring a fun freshness to these Bible stories. And the text comes straight from scripture, so my kids aren't just getting some cutesy little re-telling.

This one is such a sweet story of friendship, and of giving a gift that truly has a lot of thought behind it. My kids love it, and it give me the warm fuzzies every time I read it... without being cheesy.

This is one of the more cutesy Christmas stories, but I like the way it talks about what the creche/nativity set is all about. It's a good discussion starter, and fun to read right next to the nativity set where you can play and discuss as you read. I like the message of it, but it's light and fun too.

I've been reading this one at Literacy Launchpad for several years. All the fun of The Jolly Postman with a Christmas twist on it. It's an especially fun read with kids that are familiar with their fairy tales, but could also be a good way to introduce some - read this book, then read some of the fairy tales it talks about. Maybe write a letter to one of your favorite fairy tale characters when you're done reading!

The message of this book is sweet and subtle. A Christmas tree that is too big for Mr. Willoughby gets trimmed at the top to fit his home. But instead of the top being thrown out - it gets recycled and passed on to someone else that needs a tree. This continues all the way through the book till a mouse family ends up with the teeny tiny top of the tree at the very end. So sweet, and I like that it starts a good discussion about not wasting, and maybe even about reusing and recycling things at Christmas time. 

I think The Night Before Christmas can sometimes be a tough classic story for kids to get into and enjoy these days. But this pop-up version makes it so much more fun and interesting to read through, at least with my kids. It's beautiful, of course, and I like just having it out as part of our Christmas decor!

Santa Mouse is a cute little book that my mom read to me and my siblings growing up. And it's a fun little tradition you could start with your kids of Santa Mouse leaving a present on the tree each year. This is much more my speed than the time-consuming Elf on the Shelf tradition!

And of course, who doesn't love The Polar Express? I remember my dad reading this at my house growing up every Christmas Eve. I can still hear his voice every time I read it to my kids or students. And now we have the version with Liam Neeson reading it, which is really beautiful to listen to as well. I like to have it one when we're just sitting around Christmas-crafting or eating our lunch. 

Now tell me your favorites! I love to add new ones to our collection!