I became a grandmother for the first time eight and a half years ago and now I am blessed with four wonderful grandchildren. For my oldest grandchild’s first Christmas in 2012, I sent him a Christmas book. It is a tradition I have carried on ever since. The first Sunday of advent each of my grandchildren gets a Christmas book selected especially for them, usually with some socks, or gloves for the season.
Near the middle of November, I go to the children’s section of McNally Robinson Booksellers and gather an armful of interesting looking Christmas books from their shelves. Then I plunk myself down in one of their cosy chairs and read through them all till I have found the perfect book for each grandchild.
Pandemic times required a different approach. I did my research online, placed my order over the phone and used McNally’s curbside pick-up service to get the books.
This year I selected a new book by Eric Wilson for my eight-year-old grandson called The Boy Who Moved Christmas. It is a touching story of how a town banded together to create a Christmas in October for a little boy who was dying and wouldn’t live till December. I also added It’s Snowing which has poems by one of my favourite poets for kids- Jack Prelutsky. My son recently sent me a video of my oldest grandson reciting a poem for his school class and he performed with such flair and expression I thought he might enjoy reading some of the Prelutsky poems to his brother and sister. My four-year-old grandson is getting The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen. Beautifully illustrated with watercolour paintings it tells the story of a little girl who helps a reindeer who is lost find its way back to Santa. For my one and a half-year-old granddaughter, I have chosen Ten Little Reindeer written and illustrated by Johnny Lambert. Its a counting book that I think she’ll have lots of fun listening to and chiming in on once she catches on to the delightful pattern of the text. My newest granddaughter who will be just a month and a half at Christmas is receiving A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, a Canadian version of the classic The Twelve Days of Christmas. It is a book much beloved by her cousins. I splurged a little on her clothing item going beyond the usual socks or mittens to include a festive little outfit. It reminds me of a Christmas outfit of her Dad’s at that age. He was also a November baby. Wrapping and sending off the Christmas books to my grandchildren is always my first step in getting ready for Christmas. I know I won’t be able to see my grandchildren in person this Christmas but I am going to try and figure out ways to carry on with as many of our Christmas traditions as possible despite that.