When I think back to childhood Christmases, I remember my Grandma Garvin wrapping up small trinkets for my sister and I to open on the 12 days leading to Christmas. It is terrible that I cannot remember one single item that laid hidden beneath the Christmas wrapping paper. I am sure there were some candy, crayons, stickers, and other novelties. While I can’t remember the gifts, I definitely remember the excitement. She brought two bags to our house a few days before the 12 Days of Christmas would start. My sister and I were always overjoyed and could hardly wait to open each package. I miss my grandmother dearly. She always took such great pride in creating fun traditions for our family.
My grandpa and grandma with my aunt and dad :)
(Let's all take a moment and be thankful they do not make those monkey stuffed animals any more!)
It is funny to think that Kinsley is about the same age that I was when I was opening those special packages. Kinsley definitely takes notice of the activities we do around each holiday. Just last night she asked, "Do you remember that one Christmas when we made an ornament every day? Can we do that again? Or can you get us one of those pictures that has the doors you open to get chocolate?" I think it is the anticipation that makes the 12 Days of Christmas or Advent calendars so appealing to children.
I decided this year to use 12 Christmas themed books and create open-ended activities that all three of my children could participate in at some level. Each day we will read the book together. This will most likely happen after everyone is home from school and practices. Then I will present them with the materials for the corresponding activity. The activities will be a range of process-art, story retelling, and socio-dramatic play. I will take pictures of each of my children during the activity so you can see it from an almost 8-year-old, 5-year-old, and 1-year-old perspective. I will post the 1st Day of Christmas activity on Monday, November 30th. I am starting early with my kids so that you will have time to gather supplies for you to start on December 13th. This will have you finish your 12 Days of Christmas on Christmas Eve.
I am so excited to share this experience with you! Here's a list of the books and the affiliate links to Amazon if you wish to purchase the books ahead of time. Or check out your local library.
1. Polar Express by Chris Vans Allsburg
2. Dream Snow by Eric Carle
4. The Littlest Elf by Brandi Dougherty
5. Snowmen at Christmas by: Caralyn Buehner
6. The Little Drummer Boy by: Ezra Jack Keats
7. There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by: Lucille Colandro
8. How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas by: Jane Yolen
9. The Gingerbread Man by: Jim Aylesworth
10. The Mitten by: Jan Brett
11. The Snowy Day by: Ezra Jack Keats
12. The Night Before Christmas by: Clement Clarke Moore