Sunday, January 26, 2014

Listmania: 12 Days of Christmas Books

As our oldest child has reached her second birthday, she is very into her books. Since Christmas 2013 rolled around right after her birthday, I thought it would be a perfect time to start a 12 Days of Christmas Book tradition.

Each year, wrap up 12 holiday-themed books and have your children open one each night leading up to Christmas. This is a fun bedtime activity that incorporates the excitement of unwrapping, with the routine of bedtime. For our first year, I didn't have 12 Christmas books for our collection yet, but since I planned on gifting Bugga some other books for Christmas, I just used those for some of the nights. Each year I plan to add in and rotate more books out, keeping the stories age-appropriate for both kids. Also, 12 books can be an investment (especially in Canada! Whoa!) so don't be afraid to wrap up some library books too!

How did I pick the books below? I thought of some classics that I remember enjoying as a kid. I also looked into Bugga's favorite characters (Duck & Goose, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Llama Llama) to see if the authors wrote a Christmas story, and I was surprised to find that MOST do! Reading about the same characters really helps with holding a toddler's attention.

Some ideas for Christmas Books:

  1. Fa La La by Leslie Patricelli 
  2. Nativity Touchy-Feely Board Book by Fiona Watt
  3. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
  4. Frosty the Snowman by Diane Muldrow
  5. Duck & Goose, It's Time for Christmas by Tad Hills
  6. Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff
  7. The Hat by Jan Brett
  8. Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson
  9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  10. Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
  11. Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
  12. Clubhouse Christmas by Susan Amerikaner

Family Christmas Traditions

My husband and I have been thinking a lot about what sort of family traditions and lessons we want to pass down to our daughters. We also want to teach our children about religion, but leave room for them to discover it themselves and follow it where they allow it to lead them. Since Bugga is just freshly 2 years old, it's hard to really give her too much information that she can truly comprehend, but she is definitely at the age of understanding some things.

What we want for sure is that our daughters recognize the lessons and morals that can be learned as we expose them to more and more information.

We know that it is very easy for kids to think of Christmas as a "gimme gimme!" sort of holiday, and that makes me cringe. So I proposed that we find away to put the fun into giving (since my 2-year-old can't quite shop on her own yet, let alone create too many homemade gifts that allow her to grasp the concept of giving). I thought she'd enjoy handing out the presents under the tree on Christmas morning, but since she can't read yet, I created these visual labels as a toddler-friendly gift tag. She loved "playing elf" and finding gifts for everyone and passing them out all by herself.

I also found a toddler-friendly board book about the Christmas Nativity story, which she really enjoyed. I plan to add this to our 12 Days of Christmas Books tradition that we also started this year.

What tools are you using to teach your toddler about holidays, religions, or traditions?

Toddler-Friendly Gift Tags

Now that Bugga just turned 2, it was perfect timing to teach her that Christmas is even more about the giving than the receiving. She definitely sees the fun in unwrapping a present and finding a fun surprise inside, but this year we wanted to focus on the GIVING.

I thought it would be great, and very easy, to have Bugga play our Christmas Morning Elf and hand out everyone's presents. However, she obviously can't read yet, so we needed a way to help her identify the presents. 

I created these Toddler-Friendly Gift Tags that are more visual, so that it is easy for a 2-year-old to identify who to deliver the gift too. It worked really well and she clearly enjoyed being a part of the giving.

I wasn't very timely with this post (birthing a Christmas baby and all) so I know this isn't something you are probably thinking about in January. However, if you like this idea, bookmark it for next year!

Here are the examples:

Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh Canada...Baby!

Well, she's here! On December 21st we welcomed our little dual citizen to the family! "Bella" joined us at 2:24 PM after we patiently waited for her arrival...and she was only 6 days late! As I am sure I will be posting about her as much as her older sister, "Bugga", I'm going to continue with my little blog nicknames to have a little fun with my kiddos' names without putting them out there before they have an opinion on the topic.

Things are going great with us, and I have to say, as much as I didn't want my poor kids to have holiday birthdays, it is definitely nice to have my husband home for some extended time from work so we can navigate these crazy baby and toddler waters together until I can get my Mom act together to get back to doing this on my own during the week.

If Bella had taken much longer I was scheduled to be induced on Christmas Day, which I was NOT excited about! Fortunately she found her way out a few days prior and we were all able to spend our first Christmas in Calgary home in our cozy living room, fireplace going, snow coming down outside, and one exSTATIC 2 year has definitely been a Christmas to remember!

Happy holidays to all, and I wish everyone an exciting and prosperous 2014!