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What Is Christmas Hardcover – June 30, 2007
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About the Author
Michelle Adams began her career in journalism, but when she had two children, she quickly turned to writing children's books, including the successful What Is . . . ? series. Michelle lives in Bedford, Indiana, with her husband and two girls. The other loves in her life are her miniature dachshunds and Hoosiers basketball.
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I took each element mentioned in the book and purchased Christmas ornaments to symbolize each one; for example, snowflake, star, Santa, elf, gingerbread man, mistletoe, Christmas cookies (snowmen,pre-packaged), the manger scene, etc. All in all I had 17. I know, a bit much. :) It was my gift to my granddaughters. I had a blast shopping around town and online for each item; I even found some at Salvation Army, such as the gingerbread man. (They saved the day, because I couldn't find one ANYwhere else.)
At the end when it speaks of Jesus' birthday, I found a sparkly pink cupcake under-an-acrylic-dome ornament and used a Sharpie to write, "Happy Birthday, Jesus" and "Christmas 2015."
I wrapped each in red, green, or white tissue and numbered them using glittering, stick-on gift tags from Walmart. I then made a video reading the book to them (first we did a picture walk through the book--Google for explanation). Then, after the picture walk and reading the book, I made a video opening each gift with them. I had to open fold them in tissue & tag them, then open them for the video, but it was no problem to refold them into the tissue for shipping.
I used Walmart.com to purchase a beautiful, 4 ft., white Christmas tree with mutli-colored lights ($25) (see photo). All my daughter had to do was pick it up at her local Walmart. On my video, I told the girls it was our reading tree. (I had one, too, at home, so I did it "with them" on the video.) As they opened each ornament, they hung it on their reading tree. (The photo I'm including was before the box arrived, so there are no ornaments on it in the pic.) I included some artificial snow used for Christmas villages, and taught the girls the meaning and use of a tree skirt (it's not in the photo, of course).
Additionally, I included to framed photos: one of me and one of me reading to the girls when they were much younger. I read where framed pictures are one way of helping grandkids feel connected to their long-distance grandbabies. (Several weeks later my daughter "caught" my older grandchild gazing at my photo while lying in bed, holding the frame. She sent me the picture. :) Melted my heart!!)
On the outside of the shipping box I used packing tape to adhere window clings (see photo). That way, if my daughter wanted to, she could take them off and let the children have fun with them on the windows at her home.
Not only was it a wonderful interaction with my grandchildren, but it was practice for them in counting and vocabulary. Most 3 & 4 year olds don't know what mistletoe is, for instance. :)
Yes, it took many hours over a week's time to find all the ornaments, record the videos, and prepare everything for shipping. However, it's something I hope my granddaughters will always remember, and each year I hope it will be a tradition to watch Grandmommy's videos and hang the ornaments on the reading tree. :) Besides, it was FUN...for Grandmommy, most of all. :) I hope this has inspired you in some way, too!
The rhymes are simple, people mentioned they are corny, but they are after all made for very young toddlers. My husband actually thinks it's awesome that they use words as "superduper" and "my mom's cookies rule".
The book closes saying that although all these other things are really nice Jesus' birth is the real reason to celebrate. Which I think is a sweet and to the point message for a Christian child.
*one rhyme is off or something but the kids didn't really notice.