The Christmas Book Box


Books are a big deal around here. It’s no secret that I wish all the boys in my life loved reading as much as I do, but perhaps they wish I loved fart jokes as much as they do. I try to encourage reading on the sly because anytime I stomp my feet and flail my hands in effort to get the boys onside with my desires, I am often met with sullen, uninterested faces or, more likely, a look that says, “she’s crazy!”.

I took the idea of a book box from my teaching days. I made a project out of it and engaged the boys from the beginning. At the grocery store, I casually mentioned that we needed a box. I didn’t give them any further details so when they were sorting through the heaps of discarded boxes that line the front of the store, their curiosity was piqued.

“Uh-uh. Too small! ” I’d say or “Uh-uh. Too big!”

When they landed on the perfect box, we brought it in the house along with the groceries, but I said no more about the box and deferred all questions pertaining to it saying that I wasn’t quite ready to share its use yet.


A few days later, my middle one was lazing around the house, bored. Read: he was whining and I was quickly becoming irritated. I suggested that he decorate “The Box”. I gave him clues that guided his colour selection and sticker choices. Once the box was completely covered, I asked him to return it to its place on the floor in the dining room.

When the boys were at school, I pulled all of the Christmas and holiday books from our shelves and placed them in the box and then moved the box to a prominent location in our family room. I said nothing about the box, but when the boys came home from school they quickly thumbed through the books and come bedtime took a few upstairs with them only to return them first thing in the morning.


I didn’t say too much about the book box but it’s now a part of our Christmas tradition, our Christmas narrative if you will. Each year the boys are eager to become reacquainted with some of their favourite stories and discover what new additions have been made.



A Visit From Mrs. Claus

One of my favourite holiday traditions that we started when our boys were born was having Mrs. Claus make a visit to the house.  Why should Santa get all of the glory?

Mrs. Claus slips into the house in the wee hours of the morning on December 24 and leaves a fresh set of pyjamas along with a favourite Christmas book at the breakfast table for each of the boys.

By bedtime our bellies are full from the shortbread cookies we’ve made for Santa and the boys anticipate his arrival while reading their new Christmas stories.

Christmas tales, twinkly lights and three excited children snuggled in their pjs.  What could be better than that?

The Elf on the Shelf

Last year we started a new family tradition.  After friends told me about a magical elf that inhabits their home every December, a sucker for all things Christmas (except for ghastly themed sweaters), I was intrigued.

I found The Elf On The Shelf at our local toy store and instantly loved the story and the whimsical character.  The book is a story about an elf, which spends the month of December living in your house. Each night he reports back to Santa about all of the goodness and love your children are spreading during the holiday season. Every morning your children look to find your little elf and “magically” they will find him in a new place.  To add to the magic, your children are not to touch this special elf – they can only look at him.

For some reason my boys find this exciting.  Each morning, before their advent chocolate (I told you, a sucker for all things Christmas – and yes, I let them eat a chocolate in the morning) they search for “Tad” (not my choice for a name) and tell him all about the exciting day to come.  When night falls, they return to report their day’s details and wish him a speedy journey to North Pole.

I know that I shouldn’t use Tad as a bargaining tool, but during the month of December, I am quick to say in the face of a temper tantrum: “Ooooh, it looks like Tad has reporting to do to Santa.”  It’s amazing ho quickly teeth get brushed, shoes get put on and toys get put away.

December is approaching and as Christmas festivities begin to pack the calendar, my boys have begun to ask after Tad.  They know that when he makes his appearance, Christmas is coming and that can only mean one thing . . .  a visit from the man in red himself.

Do you have any traditions that you started with your family?