Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Children's Advent Book

Several people have asked me recently about a recommendation for a children's advent book. Honestly, I don't have one that I'd say is the end all be all. For our Jesse tree we use several books together including two children's bibles we have.

There is one book that we love for the kids during Advent but it's not a book of devotionals. Instead, it links Christmas traditions to the season of Advent and gives the meaning behind a lot of the things we typically do this time of year like hanging up stockings, sending Christmas cards, decorating with candy canes, etc. The book is called The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Welchel.

It's filled with colorful illustrations relating to each topic. Some of my favorite topics include the Christian symbols behind the Twelve Days of Christmas, the Legend of the Candy Cane, the history of displaying candles in windows, and the Advent wreath. One that we refer to often during Christmas is the story of the original Santa Claus, Bishop Nicholas from Turkey. After much wrestling with whether to allow Santa into our Christmas celebrations, we decided to stick with the story of the original Saint Nicholas that showed Christ's love to the poor and needy. That's the extent of who Santa is in our house. In keeping with his legacy, we hang stockings on our mantle that "Santa" tucks small gifts in. I still sometimes wonder if we should cut him out altogether but our children are very clear on the reason for this special season and that's the focus in our home the whole month. So for now, Santa stays... just barely.

What about you? Any good Advent book recommendations? Or children's Christmas books in general? Do you "do Santa"?


Laura said...

We had fun with Santa when I was a kid, but my mom tells me I never believed he was actually real. We still had fun leaving cookies out, and a carrot for the reindeer. And when we saw a gift marked "From Santa" we always knew it would be the best present.

I think it's fun to pretend with Santa, but we're not going to lie about it. We're not telling her that Santa is real or that he's the one who brings her presents. But I have no problem with her reading storybooks about Santa or taking pictures with him as long as it's clear that it's pretend.

The Alexanders said...

I struggle with this. I don't like telling my girls that Santa comes down the chimney and leaves them gifts. But everyone else in our family and all of our friends do tell their kids that and my kids are too young to understand that our family might believe differently than others. And if they ruined the surprise for others, we would be outcasts! I would rather do away with him and just focus on Jesus, but I feel like we're so bombarded with him that I don't know what else to do right now. Practically every Christmas movie and book that they see or read talks about Santa and how he will bring them presents on Christmas Eve and how he lives in the North Pole, etc. So how do I get around all of this without being a total killjoy?

Renee Westcott said...

No Santa in our house. It was an easy decision since I grew up without much Christmas stuff (my parent's were so conservative- we didn't do a tree or gifts for many many year). One of my girlfriends asked what we would do when Lydia was in school telling people Santa wasn't real...I replied that really wasn't my problem...those kids can go home and tell their parents and ask questions.

Laura said...

Oh by the way... I got in major trouble from my friend's grandma (who raised her) when I was about 8 for saying the tooth fairy wasn't real. My friend went & told her grandma who then called me to chew me out, saying that in their family all the kids believed in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy until they were 12. She made me cry & my mom had to get on the phone & talk to her.

There will probably be a day when our kids will come to tell us they heard someone say they don't believe in Jesus. I think it would be wise to help my kids build their faith in the truth now so they'll be strong enough to hear that kind of thing later.

If I were to encourage my kids to believe in Santa, only to reveal the lie later, why would they trust me to teach them about God?

The Notetaker said...

I love hearing what y'all have to say. Thanks for sharing!
I agree, we always strive to be completely honest with our children. We want them to know that God is trustworthy and the best way to represent that to them now when they're young is by how we live. We tell them that Santa is pretend but based on a real person and explain who that real person was and how he loved God. Boo hasn't asked many questions about Santa but if he asks whether he's real or not, we'll definitely tell him the truth.
Keep the comments coming! I love hearing everyone's perspective, whether it's the same as ours or not. I know people are all across the board on this.

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