Monday, December 6, 2010

Wrapped Up in Books

I know I have mentioned our Christmas book tradition before. However, I would say it is one of the topics we still get the most questions about...other than adoption maybe. :)

It all started when our firstborn was a baby. I read about the book tradition in a magazine and decided to start it. I gathered 25 children's books about Christmas, wrapped them up, and had him open one a night starting December 1. Then we would read the book.

It added a little excitement to the Christmas season plus hopefully inspired a love for reading. :) (Yes, he is still a huge reader.)

Then along came child 2. Now we were wrapping 50 books at the end of November. A bit much, but very "doable".

Of course, you can do the math. We now have four kids. Simple math...4 kids, 25 books each means 100 books in all.

So here are the questions we get asked (along with my answers :)...

Do you buy new books each year?

Oh, goodness no. We are not rich people by any means. Even if we did have that much extra money around, we wouldn't do it. We save them. I have two tubs of Christmas books. I have picked up many of them at bookstore sales or through school book orders. We keep the tubs in the garage or attic until late November. If I buy books throughout the year, I just stick them to the side until it is time to wrap. (Right now, I have a box of books that the kids have outgrown. Now I am saving them for grandchildren WAY down the road. :)

How do you wrap them?
Well, I use cheap wrapping paper (usually in the "dollar spot" at Target). Each child has their own paper; I try to match personality. Child 1 loves the color red (something about the Razorbacks), so his is always red. Child 2's is whimsical with pink somewhere on it. Child 3's favorite black. So this year her paper is black with pictures on it. And the youngest gets Santa Claus paper this year. Our wrapping is not precise. In fact, I make one cut for each book. That is it. Then I wrap from there. (One year my husband decided we should just use large gift bags for each child and let them "draw" out a book each night. It was NOT the wrapping it is!)

When do you wrap them?
Usually November 30. Did I mention we are procrastinators? Every year I think I will wrap earlier than last year, yet I never do. I have considered wrapping them in July when I have more time on my hands but the problem is that I am never quite sure which books I will use from year to year depending on the kids' ages and interests. Oh, this year, I got about a week's worth wrapped before December 1, then finished wrapping the rest this weekend.

What kind of books do you use?
I have a pretty good collection of Christmas books. Some focus on Christ's birth/the Nativity. Others are more "commercial", focusing on Santa Claus. I think there is a good mixture. As the kids get older, I have had to buy several Christmas chapter books for the "big kids". They all get some version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas". The oldest may have books about the Christmas Carol while the youngest's may involve popular characters like Clifford or Elmo. The funny thing is that each child (with the exception of child 4 who hasn't figured out the book patterns yet) has certain books that are "theirs" in their mind. Child 1 has one book he wants to open on his birthday every year. It is a tradition. I don't know why that book, but he counts on it. And already this year I have heard child 2 say (after child 3 opened a book), "Oh, I loved that book!"

Why do you do this (go to all of this work)?
I love reading. I also love gifts (giving and receiving). This tradition lets me "marry" the two. I love the look of surprise when the children open up their books, as well as the time we get to spend reading together (well, the younger ones anyway...the big kids take their books to read on their own :). It is a lot of work but it is a tradition I hold onto dearly. It is a special tradition for the kids; they anticipate this each year. So therefore, it is special for me!

At what age do you stop?
I have no idea. I have been pondering this as child 1 gets older. But he still enjoys this tradition, so obviously this isn't the time to stop. I guess we will just know when it is.
But for now, we are wrapped up in books!


1 comment:

  1. I love this tradition! It definitely is a lot of work but your children will have so many wonderful memories and stories to share one day. Case loves books too! Thats usually his "prize", if he gets one, when we go to the mall or wal mart. I may have to steal this for next year! :)


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