As my regular readers may remember, one of my organizational strategies involves keeping all holiday-themed stuff in bins, which are brought out well in advance of each occasion. This includes not only decorations, but also toys, books, games, etc.

When I pulled out the Christmas bins a couple of weeks ago and let the girls dig in, you would have thought that it was…well…Christmas! There’s enough there to keep them busy and entertained right through ’til the holiday actually arrives, including favourites like Nutcracker figures, the Little People nativity, and the light-up village they have split between their two rooms.

Also a very popular item: the book basket. It’s amazing how Frannie’s reading comes along each year, as she can now enjoy several titles that were too difficult for her last Christmas. Maggie also has the task each holiday of weeding out any “baby” books that we don’t need anymore and we pass them along to a coworker’s little guy

Other years I’ve kept the books in a photocopy paper box (the most accessible storage system for teachers but not that attractive sitting on my living room bench). This year I pulled out a basket from the basement to use for a nicer display. Some favourite titles:

The Story of Christmas by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Lorraine Wells

Patricia Pingry’s books about various holidays do a great job teaching kids about the religious meaning behind each, while still validating and honouring some of the less ”religious” traditions we enjoy.

The Very First Christmas: Hallmark Recordable Storybook

My parents recorded this one for my girls a couple of years ago, and I think it’s such a special keepsake to treasure.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

A great story, to be sure, but what I love about our version (also a gift from my parents) is that it comes with a CD and cassette, which provides a wonderful listening and reading opportunity for the kids.

The Night Before Christmas: Classic Edition by Clement Moore

Yep, another gift from my parents (thanks Mom and Dad!) this title is in honour of the tradition I grew up with, when my brother and I would sit with Dad at bedtime on Christmas Eve and he would read this book to us. (This was right after snacking on his homemade fudge.)

And a new addition to the basket this year:

A Bit of Applause for Mrs. Claus

Behind every successful man stands a great woman, and this cute story for young children recounts the hard work Mrs. Claus must undertake when Santa falls ill on Christmas Eve. (Personally, I’m quite sure that Mrs. Claus does more than her share of the work even when her hubby is in good health.)

We will continue to enjoy these books for the next few weeks, because they will be safely stored away on Boxing Day. Or maybe before I go to bed on the 25th. I know, I have issues.

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