Well, we are one week in for the Countdown, and so far, so (pretty) good.
First off, my hubs is pretty smart. To keep things even, he came up with the idea last weekend to have one kid pick a book each morning and the other one open it (kind of like one kid cuts the cake and the other picks the first piece, right?). And then we just flip flop the order every other day. This really is brilliant because otherwise Harrison would be trying to pick and open every thing because, well, he’s 4 and he just gets the notion of presents more so than Miss Raegan. But so far, as long as we can remember whose turn it is to do what, everyone seems satisfied with the “rules” of this new game. Harrison was quite encouraging on Day 1 when Raegan got to pick the book, saying, “You like the ones with snowflakes, right Raegs? Good job, Raegs! You picked the snowflakes!”
You see, there was one entire day of the books existing under the tree without any of them being opened and that was just a bit of holiday torture for my children. So Harrison decided he would sort the books by wrapping paper and since I used three different kinds, he made three different piles. And now he’s making all kinds of plans on which pile will be depleted first and which paper will the be last one to open on the day Santa comes and all that. So far his sister is playing along nicely, but I have a feeling there may be some tears of frustration if/when she goes against the grain on book/paper selection. Oh, well. In everything, even a Christmas countdown, there is a lesson, eh?
The other thing we decided to do was to record the order in which we opened the books. Since we plan to use most/all of these titles year after year, we thought it would be fun to be able to look back at years past to compare opening order. Plus Harrison’s young mind is sort of blown by the whole notion that this will happen year after year and that it won’t always be the same, so I guess keeping a list is sort of like keeping proof for him. See below.
Day Three and we had our first incident. Ben and I were both out of the living room, getting ready for the day when I heard some commotion with the kids. Sure enough, a fourth book was unwrapped and in Raegan’s hands when I came in although I can’t be entirely sure she was at fault here. We put it up and said that will be their book for Day Four – no new wrapping and no new opening. *Sigh* I guess they are a little too little to really get the whole patience/waiting thing just yet. Good thing I don’t have any real presents under the tree yet!!
So here’s the list. I will keep updating this post with titles and commentary as we continue through the piles.
1) Home for Christmas by Jan Brett — starting things off with one of the biggest books (go figure!).
2) Bear Stays up for Christmas by Karma Wilson — cute little rhyming story.
3) The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan & Jan Berenstain — the first that we’ve encountered a book with which the children are previously familiar. They were a bit thrown off by that, but we tried to play it up with “How cool! You already know this story!!” I’m not sure they were buying that but this will be the norm after this year – all the books will be (more) familiar.
4) The True Night before Christmas by Timothy Penland — illustrations are by the author’s granddaughter which is pretty awesome and sweet but the book talks about the king wanting to kill baby Jesus. Really?! Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t kids’ books generally avoid words/ideas like killing? I don’t care if it is relevant to the bible; that stuff just isn’t necessary for youngens in this manner.
5) Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer — just as awesome and entertaining (for kids and adults) as all the other Olivia books.
6) Christmas Eve Good Night by Doug Cushman — again, HD was not to be fooled by a book we previously owned (from a preK book order last year). “But Dad, I have that book on CD. I can just listen to it on CD!”
7) The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg — I don’t know how this whole tradition is going to go next year, as Harrison is slightly less than impressed each time we open a book he already knows, but I did note that even though RL brought this to me last night to read again, it was HD who sat by my side and listened to the whole darn thing.
8 ) The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore — the kiddos loved this one, especially the naming of the reindeer and the illustrations by Christian Birmingham.
9) The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson — this story really is as pretty as its cover!
10) The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett — oh, my. The children never tire of reading/singing this one.
11) Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder — bestill my Little House heart – I love this.
12) The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman — AND the twelve days of Christmas page is the favorite (see above).
13) Merry Christmas, Curious George! by HA and Margret Rey — Oh, Georgie! How we love you so. So much so that RL ripped a page she was so excited to be flipping through it again last night.
14) Jingle Bells – Little Golden book, vintage version. RL loves singing this song!
15) The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
16) Thomas’ Christmas Delivery by
17) How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
18) The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall
19) The Best Christmas Book Ever by Richard Scary
20) Stick Man by
21) Santa is Coming to Nebraska by Steve Smallman
22) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (picture book)
23) Making a Friend by Marc Rosenthal
24) The Legend of the Candy Cane by
25) The Nutcracker by