I promise I will not do Christmas books and crafts all month, but I did think it would be fun to start off the season with a few of my favorites.
The Book - The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale by Angela Elwell Hunt
This classic tells the story of three little trees and what they dreamed. The first little tree wanted to hold treasure, the second to be a mighty ship, and the third to grow so tall as to point to God. Their dreams seem to go sadly awry, until they realize God's larger plan. The first becomes a humble manger which holds the Son of God. The second becomes a simple fishing vessel which carries the King of Kings. And the last becomes ugly, rough lumber whose final, fateful purpose points everyone to God.
It's a simple but elegant fable with beautiful, soft-colored illustrations. A little long for younger children, I usually read my own abbreviated version, just touching on the highlights for Little Page so she doesn't become restless. It would make a wonderful addition to your library at Christmas, or any time of the year.
The Craft - Salt-dough Ornaments
So cute and so easy, these little ornaments can adorn a Christmas tree, fill an advent calendar, or add a personal touch to gift packages. What you'll need...
- small cookie cutters (I found a pack of ten from Walmart)
- rolling pin
- cookie sheet
- ½ cup salt
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup water
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
- Mix together the salt, flour, and water until a dough forms. This is a great step to involve the kids.
- On a floured surface, knead until the dough is smooth, adding more flour if necessary.
- Roll out to ¼” thickness.
- Use the cookie cutters to cut out the shapes you want.
- Make a hole at the top of each ornament with a toothpick. Make sure it is large enough for the ribbon!
- Place all shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 2 or 3 hours, until they are hardened and dry throughout.
- Cool completely.
- Pull out the paints and let your kiddos go at it!
This is one of those occasions that I have to put my perfectionist tendencies on hold and just let her do her own thing with the paints. So what if she paints a sleigh bright purple with green runners? If nothing else the tree will be colorful!