On Christmas Eve, we always read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, by Clement C. Moore, with the bowl-full-of-jelly Santa and “up to the housetop the coursers they flew!” My kids have come to enjoy it, even if they don’t understand it. Heck, even I had to look up “coursers”, a word which here alludes to Santa’s fleet footed reindeer, but generally refers to swift horse. But then there’s this:
“As dry leaves that before
the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle
mount to the sky.”
It’s magical. And the only time my kids will sit still for poetry.
My first grader’s class is exploring holiday traditions around the world. While I was volunteering in class, we read Seven Spools of Thread, a Kwanzaa story of seven brothers who fight and then are forced to work together to weave a beautiful, multicolored cloth to earn their father’s inheritance. The kids wove their own paper cloth of many colors, no small feat for tiny fingers. There were a couple irreparably damaged cloths along the way, but these first graders were not easily dissuaded, and readily believed in the magic of working together.
And my blogging friend, Rachel, shared her family’s hilarious attempt at starting a Hanukkah tradition. No books were involved (or harmed) in this endeavor, but there was a small house-fire, an encounter with the police, and some home-made magic of the illuminating kind.
As the kids spring from their ice encrusted school grounds, we will spend the next week desperately searching for last minute gifts, baking Christmas cookies, and tracking Santa on NORAD.
About the third day, I will begin to curse the people who authorized children to have two FULL weeks off school for the holidays. Then I will remember that’s me (I’m on the local school board) and will try to gin up some holiday spirit. By the fifth day, I’ll be craving an escape to the Caribou Coffee for a caffeinated retreat with my mini laptop for some writing time. If I’ve been a very good girl, I may get my wish. And if I’m extremely lucky, I won’t be up past midnight on Christmas Eve trying to alter that Snow White costume for my pint-sized niece, who’s too small for the normal dress-up clothes (what was I thinking???).
And then I’ll eat some Christmas cookies and thank my lucky stars that I have a whole and healthy family to once again celebrate the miracle of a baby born in a manger 2000 years ago.
Merry Christmas to you and all the best for a healthy, happy holiday! Ink Spells will take a hiatus and return with the New Year.
p.s. Do you have a special book you associate with the holidays? Please share your traditions!