Thursday, December 25, 2014

'Tis the season!

First appeared on  Parent Edge blog
I cannot believe that we are already onto the end of December this year! In a way, December is special for various reasons – December signals the onset of winter which ranges from mild to severe depending on which part of the country one resides in and thus is touted as one of the best times for travel around tropical destinations. December is a month to reflect on the turn of events in the year that has gone by and may be plan for what’s to be in store in the year ahead! Well, December also is a time to get into the spirit of Christmas and lose oneself in its trappings. Whether one celebrates Christmas or not at home, you cannot miss the season’s specialties – the carol singing at a near-by church or at a neighbour’s house, star mounted houses, malls and restaurants with Christmas decorations, sinful Christmas treats galore at bakeries or Santa sightings that excite not just the little ones  - the fa-la-la fun is everywhere!!!:-) 

So how about a few Christmas reads to get warmed up for the Christmas season ? Besides the regular Christmas reads such as “The Sweet Smell of Christmas” by Patricia Scarry  or “The Night before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore  or “The Polar Express”  Chris Van Allsburg or any of the Christmas specials on popular children’s books’ characters, I came across the vintage Little Golden book series on Christmas stories brought out by Random house publications. As many as six titles centered around Christmas, this series is ideal for younger kids to get acquainted with the story of how Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem in “The Christmas Story” by Jane Werner and Eloise Wilken, or the story of the darkhorse reindeer named Rudolph who became Santa’s guiding light in “Rudolph, the red nosed Reindeer  by Rick Bunsen and Arkadia or  story with a Disney twist in “Disney’s Mickey Mouse flies the Christmas  Mail” by Annie North Bedford and the story of how animals welcomed baby Jesus in “Animals’ Christmas eve” by Gale Wiersum and Alexandra Steel Morgan. This classic series throws light on the spirit and meaning of Christmas with the aid of poetic texts and simple yet charming illustrations that are sure to engage your little one!     

If you are looking for a Christmas read for older kids who read by themselves, then “Cool Christmas stories  compiled by Elizabeth Holland is a worth a look. This book includes Christmas stories by Sam Hay, Dyan Sheldon and Martin Waddell. While some of the stories seem to thrive on traditional seasonal trappings like Santa sliding down the chimney to fill up the stockings with gifts, or the concept of Man on the moon, something I feel the young readers may have outgrown, the stories however do make an interesting read. The book can also double up as a read-aloud, if you have an emergent reader not yet comfortable with devouring a chapter book on his own. Though minimal, the illustrations are whacky enough to make our ever jaded/skeptical  younger generation take notice!:-) Stories such as the hilarious  fantasy-within-a-fantasy adventure of Santa facing trouble during the delivery of gifts in “Troublesome year for Father Christmas” by Sally Grindley  or the relatable story of a young girl who’s persistence gets her parents to give in and almost celebrate Christmas in “Not quite Christmas” by Dyan Sheldon  and the daring story of a girl spreading the warmth and cheer of Christmas that wins over a  fire-spitting dragon in “Imelda and the Dragon” by Martin Waddell  or the realistic take on the reason behind Stagger, one of Santa’s reindeers, being Santa’s weakest link in “The Clumsy Reindeer” by Elizabeth Holland - are all sure to make it a cool  Christmas vacation for young readers this year! So here’s wishing everyone a merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!!!

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