Children’s Christmas Stories

The Magic of Christmas
— Tom Krause

‘Joy to the World’, the carolers sang out
as last minute shoppers scurried about,
desperately seeking that one special gift
that would give Christmas morning a magical lift.

A old man standing still listening to the song,
amidst all the madness of the bustling throng,
in a shaky hoarse voice began to join in
singing the words of the famous old hymn.

One by one people stopped with their madness
to join with the old man for a moment of gladness.
By the time the carolers finished singing their song
the whole throng was united as they all sang along.

And as if by magic from out of the sky
church bells rang out from a chapel near by.
When the song finally ended the people greeted each other
with messages of good will they shared with one another.

You see that magical gift the shoppers sought for so long,
was not in the shopping or scurrying along.
That magical gift so desperately sought
was the Spirit of Christmas -which could never be bought.

Christmas preparations are definitely under way in our house.  My daughter has begun learning the poem The Magic of Christmas to recite in a couple of weeks.  It brings us a timely reminder to pause with the old man, as carol services, Christmas parties and decorating begin.

So in the midst of all the scurrying about this December, we are going to try to slow down and enjoy Advent: we’ll decorate the house; light candles; share poems; make gifts; create memories; enjoy traditions; remind ourselves of the first nativity; and read Christmas books (in abundance!). Our Christmas read aloud this year is going to be E.T.A. Hoffman’s The Nutcracker illustrated by Maurice Sendak as my older two are being taken to see the live ballet performance with their grandmother just before Christmas.

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One of our favourite Advent traditions is enjoying a pile of familiar short Christmas picture books and another is creating what my older two refer to as our ‘Christmas Library’.  The ‘Christmas Library’ is a collection of chapter books with Christmas themes for them to enjoy, which we pull out each year from the attic.

How does your family enjoy Advent?

Here is a list of the Christmas books we’ve enjoyed the last few years:

Over 25 Christmas Picture Books

Classic Christmas Stories & Poems

Over 25 Christmas Chapter Books

Christmas Audiobooks

Other Recommended Posts:

The Nutcracker Extravaganza

Classical Music

An Abundance of Christmas Stories

Winter Picture Books

20 Family Read Alouds

Reading Aloud

Living Books

Visiting Barcelona

Barcelona, a fountain of courtesy, shelter of strangers, hospice to the poor, land of the valiant, avenger of the offended, reciprocator of firm friendship, a city unique in its location and beauty.

— Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote, 1605

Half term took us to the wonderful Barcelona for a few days, both “unique in its location and beauty” as Don Quixote exclaimed.  Of course this was centuries before four great masters of modern art, Gaudí, Miró, Picasso and Dalí added their creativity to the city. Continue reading

Introducing Shakespeare

We probably read Shakespeare in the first place for his stories, afterwards for his characters, the multitude of delightful persons with whom he makes us so intimate that afterwards, in fiction or in fact, we say, ‘She is another Jessica,’ and ‘That dear girl is a Miranda’; ‘She is a Cordelia to her father,’ and, such a figure in history, ‘a base lago.’ To become intimate with Shakespeare in this way is a great enrichment of mind and instruction of conscience. Then, by degrees, as we go on reading this world-teacher, lines of insight and beauty take possession of us, and unconsciously mould our judgments of men and things and of the great issues of life.

— Charlotte Mason

It feels as though we have just taken the lid off a treasure chest as we have opened William Shakespeare together this term. Continue reading

Classic Christmas Stories & Poems

So many wonderful authors have written of this special time of year – some of the Nativity itself, others around the legend of Father Christmas and others are heartwarming fireside stories. Why not have browse and snuggle up with one of these books and read to the family during Advent?

Continue reading

Listening to Audiobooks

Audiobooks – don’t you love them?!

I remember listening to them as a teenager for what I thought was a quick way to read set literature texts. I have a clear image of travelling around Thailand and listening to Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov on a walkman – that was called revising! On reflection it was irresponsible and doing neither the country nor the novel justice.

I now love audiobooks for different reasons.  Of course they are no substitute for actually all curling up on the sofa reading a story but I can only read so many stories to the children with my own voice, and so they are a wonderful way to supplement our daily read aloud times. Continue reading