Every year I feel like I get a little better at the holidays. This year, we got our Christmas cards out before Christmas. We had our presents (for our kids) wrapped on time…and didn’t have to stay up until the wee morning hours on Christmas Eve to get it done. I made sugar cookies with the kids and we delivered them to friends. I helped Carter write and deliver his first letter to Santa. I started prepping for Christmas Eve dinner a few days in advance so it was less stressful on Christmas Eve. We started a new tradition of Christmas morning crepes because they’re soooo much easier than the cinnamon rolls I used to make. We did our first family reenactment of the nativity, and this was my favorite thing about our entire Christmas season.
And yet, there are so many things I wish I could have done better. I have a constant, nagging feeling that I’m not doing enough. I want to follow Light the World better. I want to tie Christmas more closely to the Savior, and make sure my kids know the true meaning of the holiday. I want to do more service with my family. I want to make more crafts. I want to help my kids make presents for others. I want to make gingerbread houses (we got some kits for my parents but they are still in boxes!)…and on and on. Continue reading “The Big Christmas Post”→
Last year we did a lot of fun Christmas activities…Christmas is my favorite time of year! We went to light parades and visited a lot of big Christmas trees in the Bay Area. I made homemade hot chocolate pretty much every night in December. We drove around the neighborhood looking for the best Christmas displays – most were just around the corner from our house! And, I got asked to speak at church on Christmas Day. After my talk, I came home and crashed on the couch and pretty much didn’t move for two weeks. Stupid germs. We opened presents and stockings in the New Year! Continue reading “I Gave a Talk on Christmas Day”→
Two years ago, when Carter was just four months old, I started collecting Christmas books to create a picture book advent calendar. It was this search for Christmas books that inspired my journey into writing – at the time, I couldn’t find any Christmas books featuring children of color. This led to a strong impression to write books of my own. I have embraced the journey so far!
Our collection has grown and changed over the past two years as I add new books and put some on hold for later years. I’ve made an effort to include books with children of color, classics, religious themes, and humor. Each year, I wrap and number the books and put them under our tree.
Please forgive the Amazon links and if possible, support your local bookstore! This year’s collection includes:
An Angel Just like Me written by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Ying-Hwa Hu: A young African-American boy needs to find an angel for the family Christmas tree but can only find angels with blond hair. He goes on a mission to find an angel that looks like him and discovers that angels, like his friends, can come in many colors.
The Birds of Bethlehem written and illustrated by Tommie dePaola: The nativity story told from the perspective of the birds who witnessed it.
The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher written by Robert Kraus, illustrated by Vip: On Christmas Eve, the Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher steals all the sprinkles for Christmas sugar cookies! A story told in funny rhymes.
The Christmas Star written by Paloma Wensell, illustrated by Ulises Wensell: Two young children follow the brightest star and bring their favorite toys to baby Jesus. They receive the most beautiful gift in return.
Dream Snow written and illustrated by Eric Carle: A lift-the-flap book in which snowstorm covers an old farmer and his animals. When the farmer awakes, he remembers he has a Christmas surprise for everyone!
The First Christmas by Jan Pienkowski: Beautiful artwork with verses from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.
Joy to the World written and illustrated by Tommie dePaola: Three beloved Christmas stories in one! This collection includes The Night of Las Posadas, The Story of the Three Wise Kings, and The Legend of the Poinsettia.
King Island Christmas written by Jean Rogers, illustrated by Rie Munoz: Eskimos help a stranded priest reach their village in time to celebrate Christmas.
The Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg: A young boy takes a magical trip on a midnight train to the North Pole.
Room for a Little One written by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Jason Cockcroft: Animals welcome each other one by one into a warm stable. A donkey carrying a pregnant woman is welcomed in. That night, a little one is born.
Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas written and illustrated by Robin Pingk: A young ninja wants to have an epic snowball fight on Christmas but none of the good little ninjas will join him for fear of ending up on Santa’s naughty list. He concocts a plan to get rid of Santa, but will Samurai Santa get in the way?
The Snowman written and illustrated by Raymond Briggs: A snowman comes to life and shares an adventure with a young boy. A story told entirely in pictures.
Snowmen at Christmas written by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner: On Christmas Eve, the snowmen come to life and have festivities of their own!
Too Many Tamales written by Gary Soto, illustrated by Ed Martinez: Christmas Eve is going perfectly for Maria until she loses her mother’s diamond ring in the tamale mix. She and her cousins will have to eat all the tamales to find the ring or Christmas will be ruined!
Tree of Cranes written and illustrated by Alan Say: As a Japanese young boy recovers from a cold, his mother folds paper cranes to decorate a tree. She reminisces about her Christmases in California and introduces him to his first Christmas tree.
When Christmas Feels like Home written by Gretchen Griffith, illustrated by Carolina Farias: Eduardo is homesick after moving to the Unites States from Mexico. His family promises him that he will feel at home by Christmas.