Since today is the official, lawful beginning of the Christmas season (shame on those of you who have listened to music or [horrors!] decorated before today), we are, of course, decorating. And drinking hot chocolate. And listening to Christmas playlists from my iPod (some things change, some things stay the same).
I was commenting today that we're blessed not to be hauling in from a road trip and needing to decorate this weekend. There are little benefits to not being near to family at holiday time.
So, as part of the process, we're switching out an equal number of plates for the Christmas-themed ones (what a blessing it is to have a melamine seconds store here in-country where we can paw through and find perfectly good plates and bowls originally intended for sale in the States, and we have a whole set of miscellaneous Christmas dishes from there), storing wall and shelf decorations from the rest of the year and replacing them with Nativity sets from around the world, and packing up one of our two picture-book shelves to put out our selection of Christmas books.
The latter inspired me to do a good old-fashioned list post. Here are the books on our Christmas bookshelf (in the order I found them).
• The Tale of Three Trees
• An Amish Christmas
• The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
• Santa Cows
• The Saint Who Became Santa Claus
• The First Night
• The Legend of the Poinsettia
• Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
• The Christmas Star
• Jacob’s Gift
• Too Many Tamales
• The Legend of the Candy Cane
• Christmas is a Time of Giving: a Joan Walsh Anglund book from my childhood
• Who Was Born This Special Day?
• How Do You Know It’s Christmas? (I am so not a Precious Moments-type [no offense to those who are; I'm just not], and I have no idea how we ended up with this silly little book, but I laid aside my pride and included it in the list, because it's on the shelf.)
• Christmas in the Big Woods
• The Story of Christmas
• The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
• The Night Before Christmas
• One Wintry Night
• The Nutcracker Ballet
• The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet
• A Christmas Carol (just for Mary Grace)
• The Saturday Evening Post Christmas Book: a cultural treasure trove and link to a distinct time in our nation's history, specifically our parents' childhoods
• A Little House Christmas
• Messiah: Wordbook for the Oratorio
• The Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury
• Christmas in America (The book linked is not actually the one we have, although I wish we did. Ours is one done about 20 years previous and is rather dated but still interesting.)
• Michael Hague’s Family Christmas Treasury
Some of the books were deliberately acquired, some were gifts, some picked up at used and/or half-price bookstores (so semi-deliberately acquired, as opposed to specifically sought/ordered).
The last several were bought at a half-price store before we left the States originally. They have been great for orienting the kids to traditions that they might not get to participate in in person being halfway around the world. It is important to ML and I that they have a grid for things like that so that they are able to relate, at least in a cursory way, to conversations and experiences of their peers at whichever point they "re-enter" their passport culture. We're trying to do a good job of this raising TCK's thing, and the holidays are an important part (waking MS to watch the Cowboys' game at a friend's house from 11pm to 1am last night was another little part :-).