Saturday, December 29, 2012

Twelve Books Of Christmas

Another Streicher family tradition for celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas is reading a book a day from our collection of children's Christmas books.

Well. That isn't exactly a radical idea, is it.

But let me explain. It's one thing to sell your kids on the idea of reading children's books when they are actually children. But once they hit the teen years and beyond, trust must use a bit of finesse to keep them interested. 

In the past decade, I've tried some gimmicks, like wrapping up 12 books and letting the girls choose one each night, or hiding books around the house and having them search one out. None of those tricks rekindled much interest. Ha. Understatement. My efforts to inject some new energy into an old ritual was interpreted as attempted brainwashing and forced family fun. Honestly, the tradition became such a chore that I gave it up for a few years.

This year, hope sprang anew in my heart, and I decided to try again. And rather than cook up some complicated, cutesy scheme, I took a straightforward approach:

On Christmas Eve, while we were gathered together and in a festive frame of mind, I dragged out our two big baskets full of Christmas books, and plopped them in the middle of the room. After explaining that we would read one book aloud each day during the Twelve Days, I asked each person in my six-person family to select two of their favorites.

I expected some moans, some groans, and plenty of half-hearted participation. 

But guess what. They loved it! Each member of the family gleefully dug into the piles, calling out titles of the books they wanted to choose, debating in detail the strengths and weaknesses of various plot lines and characters, and generally conjuring up a million happy memories of reading Christmas books together in years gone by. 

And even more shocking, we have actually gotten around to reading the books. Oh sure, we are a little off our count. As of the fourth day of Christmas, we have read three books. Two of those were on the same day. But considering the heel-dragging that we have suffered in recent years, that's a landslide win.

So, in no particular order, here are our Twelve Books of Christmas for 2012..I heartily recommend each and every one!

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home For Christmas by Holly Hobbie
A Dozen Silk Diapers by Melissa Kajpust
Lucy & Tom's Christmas by Shirley Hughes
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Richard H. Schneider
Emma's Christmas by Irene Trivas
All for the Newborn Baby by Phyllis Root
Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger
Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett
The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Tasha Tudor

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