So, what’s Santa bringing home this season? Well, a magical set of exciting and fun-filled Christmas books that talk of family bonding and life lessons. Make some hot chocolate, cuddle up and read!
By Aarthi Arun
Christmas is the time to revel in the warmth of giving and sharing, of having fun and celebrating the joyful spirit of the season. As a parent, when you plan to buy gifts for your children, do remember that along with getting them exciting games and toys, there really is no better present than the gift of knowledge.
To help you choose the right book for your child, we bring to you a list of Christmas classics for children.
This Christmas story comes to life with Eric Carle’s dazzling illustrations. A farmer lives on a farm with his five animals. He dreams of a White Christmas and voila, it comes true! Your child will shriek with delight when he transforms into a Santa for his animals. The see-through pages and musical buttons will excite your child even more.
Activity: Cut a transparent plastic sheet and piece of chart paper to a preferred size. Ask your child to draw and colour her favourite animal on the chart paper. Stick the top corner of the transparent sheet to the chart paper. Now, paint the shape of the animal on the plastic sheet using white acrylic paint. Lift the plastic sheet to see the animal hidden under the ‘snow’.
Mr Willowby's magnificent Christmas tree is so tall that its top bends against the ceiling of his parlour. His butler chops off the top and this portion ends up as a tree in the housemaid’s little home. She too finds the tree top tall and has to cut it off. In this manner, the tree spreads holiday cheer amongst many people. With this warm tale, inspire your child to share more.
Activity: Take a piece of green-coloured chart paper and cut semicircles of different sizes. Make a cone by folding the horizontal side of the semicircle in half and glue it in place. Repeat the procedure for all the semicircles. Stack the cones one over the other, such that the biggest cone is at the bottom and the smallest at the top. This way, you make a coniferous tree. Line your child's soft toys, pretend to chop the treetop (by removing the cone), and share each treetop with them.
A young boy goes on an extraordinary journey across the snow-capped mountains of the North Pole in the exciting steam-puffing Polar Express. When Santa chooses him to receive the first gift of Christmas, he asks for a humble present. However, he soon loses the gift! His disappointment doesn't last long, for there is always a miracle waiting to happen during Christmas.
Activity: The book is adapted into an animated film titled, ‘The Polar Express’, starring Tom Hanks. Watch the movie with your child and see the Polar Express come to life.
This story has been a solid holiday favourite since it was first published in 1957. The Grinch is a grumpy creature, born with a heart 'two sizes too small'. Annoyed by the Christmas festivities at Whoville, he steals the town's tree, gifts and feast. When they celebrate Christmas, heedless of their missing gifts, the Grinch understands the true spirit of Christmas. Your child will be thrilled to see the Grinch's heart growing ‘three sizes big’ after that.
Activity: Bake a 'Who Pudding' with your child. The recipe is available on the official Dr Seuss website. Link: http://www.seussville.com/activities/ GRINCH_WhoPudding_2.pdf. Remember, this recipe feeds 200 Whos or 4 to 6 yous!
The six Herdman children are an unruly bunch. Lured by the offer of free snacks, they go to a nearby church. There, they get inadvertently pulled into the whirlwind of Christmas pageant rehearsals. Since they have not heard the story of Christ's birth before, they bring fresh perspectives with their innate creativity and curiosity. This hilarious story also comes with an emotional appeal that will encourage your child to try his best, no matter what.
Activity: Ask your child to list out the individual traits of all six Herdman children. Let him pick his favourite Herdman and tell you the reasons for his choice.
During the Second World War, four siblings are sent to live in a country home to escape the bombings in London. They accidentally find their way to a magical kingdom called Narnia. The children find that an evil White Witch has cast a spell of eternal winter on Narnia, which the siblings' arrival dispels. Enraged, the witch takes Edmund, the third sibling, as prisoner. With the help of the rightful king, a lion named Aslan, the children save Narnia and its creatures. This fantasy will inspire your child to always fight with benevolence and courage.
Activity: Tell your child to pick out her favourite scene and illustrate it with a medium of her choice. You could also watch the movie version of this book.
This classic transcends generations in its appeal. The story is about the life of four the March sisters — bold Jo, gentle Meg, content Beth and elegant Amy. On closer look, you can see none of the sisters fit into the traditional mould of the nineteenth century woman. The girls go on their own adventures, yet stick together as a family during the grim times of war, poverty and disease. Your child will positively relate to at least one of the sisters.
Activity: Ask your teen to put herself in the shoes of one of the March sisters. Let her imagine and write a story about the impact of the Civil War in her family and how she hopes to overcome these hard times.
Published in 1843, this classic by Charles Dickens reigns over all other Christmas stories hands-down. Ebenezer Scrooge is a cold-hearted businessman living in London. His partner, Jacob Marley, who is 'as dead as a doornail', visits Scrooge to bring him to his senses. Jacob sends his three allies, ghosts of the past, present and future, to take Scrooge on a time-travelling journey. Through this exhilarating journey, Scrooge learns the importance of kindness and compassion. And, just like Scrooge's heart, your child's heart too will swell seeing the true spirit of Christmas in this book.
Activity: Ask your child to imagine three ghosts visiting him. Encourage him to share his thoughts on what he is likely to see in the different scenarios. You are set to have a rich discussion.
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