So if you’re like me and think that 12 Days of Christmas just isn’t enough, let me introduce you to 2 more extra holidays we celebrate in my family. Christmas Eve Eve and The Poor Little Day After Christmas.
Christmas Eve Eve is, obviously, the day before Christmas Eve. Back when my husband and I were dating and started celebrating Christmas together, we wanted some holiday time for just the two of us. However, Christmas Eve and Christmas were already filled to the brim with family gatherings, dinners, and church services. We decided to go out to a nice dinner and exchange our gifts for each other on December 23rd. And so, Christmas Eve Eve began. Over the years, our traditions have evolved but we still set aside Christmas Eve Eve as a special day just for our little family. Now that our little one has joined our celebration we go out for a nice lunch then come home for a cozy afternoon playing, watching Christmas movies, and reading Christmas books. We put out appetizers and Christmas cookies and spend the evening eating treats and opening our presents to each other.
It is one of my most favorite days of the year. I love having this day set aside just for our little family.
Our other extra holiday is The Poor Little Day After Christmas. This is, as you probably guessed, on December 26th. It comes from a song on the “Christmas Love” record my parents had when I was little. The song describes the disappointment and melancholy felt on the day after Christmas when the holiday is over. To avoid this down in the dumps day, we take The Poor Little Day After Christmas to have one last cozy day enjoying our Christmas decorations, playing with our new gifts, and watching any Christmas movies we didn’t get to see earlier in the month. It’s a great relaxing day that puts a nice cap on the Christmas season.
Merry Christmas everyone, no matter how many days you celebrate!
And now to share with you what is probably my most cherished tradition of all: Santa Mouse. While not as widely known, Santa Mouse has been around for a lot longer than the Elf on the Shelf. And he’s much less creepy in my opinion! Our Santa Mouse traditions stem from the books Santa Mouse, Santa Mouse Where Are You, and Santa Mouse Meets Marmaduke by Michael Brown. Without a doubt, they are my most favorite Christmas books to read. Sadly, they are hard to find – they go in and out of print. But if you are ever lucky enough to fin them, snap them up immediately!
They are the delightful stories about Santa’s little helper, Santa Mouse. The stories explain how Santa Mouse came to be, how he ties his packages with yellow ribbon, how he leaves tiny gifts in the branches of the Christmas tree, and how you need to put a yellow light at the top of your tree if you want him to visit you.
These tidbits from the Santa Mouse books have become an integral part to our Christmas over the years. As the books say,” Santa Mouse is Santa’s helper, he goes with him ev’ry year, and it really isn’t Christmas unless both of them appear.” Every year our tree has special yellow lights at the top just for Santa Mouse. After years of receiving special gifts from Santa Mouse, last year was our daughter’s first Christmas and my first chance to wrap a package tied with yellow ribbon myself. I must admit that I got a bit choked up buying a big spool of yellow ribbon at the party store to carry on this special tradition for our own Christmas baby.
So this year, tell your kids about Santa Mouse. Read them the books if you can. Encourage them to leave a piece of cheese for Santa Mouse out with their cookies for Santa. Who knows? You may find a tiny gift tied with yellow ribbon in the branches of your tree on Christmas morning!
Advent is a big deal at our house. I LOVE Advent calendars. Some years it takes us a good 20 minutes each night to tour the house opening each little box or hanging each tiny ornament for all of the Advent calendars. Well, as if that wasn’t enough, this year I’ve added a new Advent tradition to the mix: wrapping a Christmas book for each day of Advent and then opening up and reading one each night.
I found this idea on Pinterest a few years ago, and now that we have our own child I couldn’t wait to try it. Although I could also see doing this with Christmas and Hanukkah books at school to count down to Winter Break. I started by gathering up 25 Christmas books.
Now, I must admit I have a children’s book buying habit, so it was no trouble for me to find 25 books in my own collection to wrap. If you don’t have that many Christmas books, you may want to start collecting now for next year! A couple tips on book choices… Don’t pick anthologies. You want to be able to read one quick story a day. Also, I suggest that you don’t pick your most favorite stories to wrap. You will want to read those over and over throughout the month rather than just once when you get to that wrapped package. Besides, this gives you a chance to be sure you get to read all of your Christmas books – even the more unfamiliar ones you might normally forget.
After you have chosen your books, wrap them.
Wrapped Advent Books
Don’t put bows on them so you can stack them in a pile and watch the pile get smaller over the course of the month. Put numbers on the packages instead.
I used this set of numbered Christmas stamps from Stampin’ Up to number my packages, but you could also use stick on numbers or just write the numbers with a Sharpie.
Kids will love this new Advent tradition! (At least I can only assume they would love it… Our one year old is perhaps still a bit too young to fully appreciate it as she tends to jump up and run off a few pages into each night’s book to do something vitally important such as blow on the tinsel on the tree or move the peppermint candy window clings from the patio door to the front of the dishwasher.) I am LOVING reading a Christmas book each night though, and I hope you will too!
Hard to believe it’s December already! Time for this month’s Author of the Month. Laura Numeroff is my pick for December. She is the author of the wonderful If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series. Her books are great for the busy, hectic, crazy month of December because they are quick, simple, funny, and engaging enough to grab those little attention spans distracted by visions of sugar plums this time of year. There is even a Christmas themed book in the series: If You Take a Mouse to the Movies.
Laura Numeroff Books
The books are so much fun to read aloud, and they are repetitive and predictable enough that kids reading at just about any level can read them on their own without frustration. They are great for teaching about cause and effect. Kids can even write their own cause and effect stories based on Laura Numeroff’s books. Her books also provide opportunities to make treats that go along with them: cookies, donuts, muffins, cupcakes, etc. And everyone needs more treats in December, right???
Have fun reading! And remember, if you read a kid a Laura Numeroff book… he or she will probably want to read another one!
Christmas and Shopping: Two of the things I love most in the world. However, there is one day I refuse to do either one: Thanksgiving. I’ll admit, even though I do love dressing and other Thanksgiving foods, it has never been my most favorite holiday. However, it serves an important purpose and still deserves its rightful place on the calendar. We have so much for which to be thankful. And besides, Thanksgiving provides a day full of delicious anticipation before the Christmas season begins! So that’s why in our house, Christmas can’t start until Thanksgiving is over.
Every year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I load up the iPod with Christmas music and install it in the car… where it remains silent. I’m always tempted to play a Christmas tune or two but I always stop myself. NOT YET! Then, on Thanksgiving Day we head over the river and through the woods to our various Thanksgiving meals. Finally, at the end of the long day, we waddle to the car, stuffed with turkey, dressing, and Thanksgiving treats. We snuggle into the car, start up the iPod, and head home with the magical first notes of Christmas music ringing in our ears. Only then, after the last crumb of pumpkin pie has been eaten, can the Christmas season begin. I think it makes finally getting to hear those Christmas tunes even more special.
Then on Black Friday, we don’t rush out to the malls like everyone else. Instead, we stay in our cozy house all day getting out boxes and boxes… (and boxes) of Christmas decorations. It’s exhausting hard work, but it’s the perfect way to work off all the Thanksgiving food! By the end of the holiday weekend, the house has been transformed from fall to a Christmas wonderland!
So this year, consider giving Thanksgiving a try. Save the carols, save the trees, save the lights for just one more day. (Even if it is just to make the start of Christmas that much more special.) Giving thanks deserves its own day and makes the perfect gateway to the Christmas season!
Don’t you hate it when you have a creative new idea or something unique you’ve always done for years, and then that idea shows up on Pinterest or in Martha Steward Living or everywhere????? Well, that was exactly the case with this: a Christmas tree made out of jewelry.
Jewelry Tree Lights
This tree was made by my grandfather almost 40 years ago. It has always been one of my most prized Christmas decorations, so imagine my surprise (and slight annoyance!!) when similar artwork started popping up on Pinterest. However, I was also grateful to see Pinterest’s take on it because I got some new ideas based on my old classic.
I decided to make smaller versions for other seasons: A fall pumpkin, a Christmas ornament, a winter snowball, an Easter egg, and summer flowers.
Seasonal Sticker Pictures
They were surprisingly easy to make. First I collected all kinds of sparkly stickers and stick-on jewels from the craft store. (Vintage jewelry like my grandfather used way back when it wasn’t vintage was just too expensive for this project.) Then I cut out the shapes I wanted out of tagboard to make stencils and put them over some card stock that would be my backgrounds. Simple shapes work best. Then I just filled in the shapes with the stickers and jewels. Make sure you have a really pretty frame for your new work of art for all seasons!
Fall Sticker Picture