It’s that time of year again! And at Primary English HQ, we have been getting a little too giddy about all things Christmas. In the first of four Advent blogposts, team member Jo Upton girds herself for the excitement that is the Christmas story books!
Today is a day of serious anticipation in our house. The start of December is tomorrow! And, not only is it Day One of the Advent Calendar and Artem’s 5th birthday pirate party, it’s the day in which Daddy goes up into the loft empty handed and returns with … the Christmas book box!
It’s an established family tradition that goes back to our first Christmas together. Each year, for the month of December only, the Christmas books come out for an airing. Inside the sparkly silver-covered box, adorned with Christmas pictures drawn by the children (new ones added each year) is a growing collection of some Christmas classics.
So, what is in the box?
Well, there’s some rather ancient looking carol books which lead to amusing renditions with all of us trying to remember words and tunes. There’s a well-thumbed copy of the Nativity Story with lovely cartoon illustrations including a gorgeous donkey. There’s a couple of Christmassy cloth books from when the kids were tiny. The Christmas CDs are in there too! There’s also some Christmas treasures.
My personal Christmas book box favourites …
Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas is always such fun to read. Long ago, I read this book rather more as a documentary than fiction, wholeheartedly believing that this was the truth about Father Christmas’ life. As an adult, I still thoroughly enjoy the depiction of winter, the huge workload, the dream of the summer holiday and I empathise somewhat. Bloomin’ Christmas!
No Christmas collection would be complete without The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore. The copy we’ve got is full of delightful illustrations, magic and wonder, and is a joy to read throughout December, but no more so than on Christmas Eve itself. When, back from the annual Pizza Express lunch (another tradition!), the stockings have been carefully hung up, the mince pie and selected drink placed in the kitchen (“How about some Vimto? He’s probably fed up of sherry!” was last year’s refrain), and the vitally-important carrot and bucket of water placed in prime position on the drive, we all snuggle down to share this marvellous poem. After all that, it’s time for the new Christmas pyjamas and – fingers crossed – sleep.
Perhaps the biggest highlight comes when Merry Christmas, Maisy is removed from the box. A toddler’s lift-the-flap special. All the usual bits and bobs – letters to open, mince pies to pull out of the oven, baubles on the tree, until Christmas Day when Tallulah arrives at the party in her glittery dress, and the flap reveals her Christmas knickers. Cue huge amounts of laughter every time! It never fails to make me smile too.
It’s been lovely to develop our own family traditions over the years, and to hear the growing excitement about the return of the Christmas book box over the last few weeks. Each year, a new one or two get added to the collection. Any suggestions for this year’s?
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