Merry Christmas Mini Book Haul – The Old Magic of Christmas – The Christmas Chronicles -The Return of the Light #Christmas #ChristmasReads

Ho ho ho! It’s Christmas Eve, and here’s my mini Christmas book haul. The hustle and bustle of Christmas isn’t going to leave much time for reading, especially when I’m spending time with some of our children’s favorites from Jan Brett, Chris Van Allsburg, and Charles Dickens. We just finished J.K. Rowling’s new book The Christmas Pig, which turned out lovely. I’m hoping to read these books below over Christmas break on into January.

Here’s what I picked up…

The Old Magic of ChristmasYuletide Traditions for the Darkest Days of the Year by Linda Raedisch-

Blurb: Not so very long ago, Yuletide was as much a chilling season of ghosts and witches as it was a festival of goodwill. In The Old Magic of Christmas you’ll find a Christmas bestiary and a White Witch’s herbal, as well as tips for delving more deeply into your relationship with the unseen. Bring the festivities into your home with cookie recipes and ornament making while brushing elbows with veiled spirits and discovering the true perils of elves. Rife with the more frightful characters from folklore and the season’s most petulant ghosts, this book takes you on a spooky sleigh ride from the silvered firs of a winter forest to the mirrored halls of the Snow Queen.

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Book Review: The Illustrated History of the Snowman by Bob Eckstein #BookReview #20booksforChristmas #Snowman

The Illustrated History of the Snowman

By Bob Eckstein

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My thoughts:

I don’t know what it is that’s so fascinating about snowmen, but just like scarecrows, they captured my heart as a child and I’ve loved them ever since. We draw them, decorate with them, make snowman Christmas cookies, watch them on TV, and build them outdoors the first chance we get. So when this book was staring at me at the bookstore, there was no leaving it behind. I knew my family would enjoy it, and we surely have for the past two winter seasons.

“Who made the first snowman? Who first came up with the idea of placing one snowball atop another and then sticking a carrot in the top sphere?”

The author set out on a quest to find out who made the very first snowman. Here in this book he presents all of his extensive (over seven year) research on the history of the snowman. It goes way back in time all the way to the dark ages. The book is somewhat of a snowman ‘encyclopedia’–chock-full of beautiful photos from around the world, which I’ll admit was my favorite aspect of the book. There’s so much to learn here though: world records including the largest and smallest snowman, snowmen in pop culture (my favorite: the Burl Ives snowman from the original children’s special), snowman festivals, appearances of snowmen with historical figures and even wars, how they’re celebrated in other cultures, use in art and politics, and fun little facts about snowmen that are sure to surprise you.

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We had no idea just how much historical background the snowman actually had! It was nostalgic for me in many ways, especially looking at some of the old vintage snowman ornaments and decorations from the past. We also loved the fun facts.

“Average number of calories burned, per hour, building a snowman: 238”

If you like snowmen, definitely give this book a try. My whole family has enjoyed it, including the children. My only wish is that the organization were different; it would be nice in chronological order. There are a few parts that are quite offensive too, but it’s fairly easy to skip over those. It’s good to be aware of that if you’re viewing this with young children.

This book is one to revisit over and over again.

4****

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Book Review: The Journey of Joseph Winter by John Anthony #BookReview #20booksforChristmas #Christmas #ReadingChallenge

The Journey of Joseph Winter

by John Anthony

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My thoughts:

This story begins with Geraldine, an older woman who brings all of her family–children and grandchildren–together to share a story none of them have ever heard: the story of her brother, Joseph Winter.

“The mind of a child is one of the places all adults wish to exist again. Only there, surrounded by youthful innocence, do dreams never disappear.”

Joseph has been living his life with regret, missing out on all the possible joy in his life. As a child he said something to his mother that he’s never been able take back, and it’s haunted him for what feels like forever. When a mysterious package arrives at his door, he has no idea what’s in store for him. Then a stranger appears and takes Joseph on a journey by train toward the North Pole where he revisits old memories, meets some very special people (including a sweet, young boy named Max), and in turn learns what it means to forgive.

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Book Review: Christmas in Winter Hill by Melody Carlson #Christmas #20booksforChristmas #Christian #BookReview

Christmas in Winter Hill

by Melody Carlson

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My review:

“God allows the rain to fall on the just and unjust. We’ve all had our troubles.”

Krista decided to relocate with her 8-year-old daughter, Emily, to Winter Hill, Washington. She’s taking on a new job as city manager and hoping for a new start. Winter Hill seems like a sweet little town, but Krista soon learns that along with this small town comes a huge annual Christmas festival, and as city manager she’s going to have to get involved. The issue is that Krista really doesn’t like Christmas. Growing up in foster homes, Christmas was never her favorite time of year and only brings back memories or her past. The town seems welcoming at first, but once Krista starts making changes at her new job everything becomes quite a mess, and it seems like moving to Winter Hill may have been a huge mistake.

“Christmas is a time for miracles. Maybe it’s time for yours.”

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