Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book Review: Everything Christmas

As we are nearing the end of the 2012-13 Christmas season, I figured I'd close it out with a Christmas book review.  Well, actually, I'll still be talking Christmas in my next read-aloud challenge post, as we are still in our Twelve Days of Christmas Read-Alouds through tomorrow.  But I'll be talking about other things there too.

Today, I'm talking about a great little book that I received this past week.  Now, I normally do not turn around reviews that quickly.  But receiving a book with the title Everything Christmas on January 3... well, if I don't review it immediately, I won't review it at all.

So, I sat down a couple different times these past two days, and read substantial chunks of the book.  I'll confess up front that I did not read the entire book, but I did go through roughly ten of the twenty-four "days" of readings in full, and a smattering of individual items within the remaining days.

The publisher has this to say about this book by David Bordon and Thomas Winters:
Opening this book is like opening a box full of Christmas cheer. 
Christmas is a time of celebration and wonder, a time to embrace longstanding traditions and establish new ones. It’s a time for meals made of memories and heartwarming stories shared around the fireplace. It’s a time for worship, reflection, and remembrance of God’s greatest gift.

Everything Christmas brings all the best ideas for the holiday season together in one volume. In this book, you’ll find your favorite classic Christmas stories and a few new ones destined to join them. You’ll discover the most delectable holiday recipes, enjoy the words to treasured hymns and carols, be encouraged by inspirational Christmas poems, and find renewed joy in the Nativity story. From decoration ideas to Christmas trivia and humor – it’s all here!
This book is set up so that there are 24 days worth of readings, dated for December 1 through 24.  Each day includes multiple, mostly very short, reading selections.  Let's take a day, say December 5:
  • Each day starts with a short quote.  Today's is by Bing Crosby.
  • There is a three-page story, "A Refugee Camp Christmas," about an 11 year old in 1947 at a camp in Austria.  All of the days include a story, some are of people looking back on a past Christmas (like this one), some are fictional.  This is one of the shorter ones.
  • There are two pages about candy canes, including a bunch of ideas for using them.
  • A recipe for Pork Loin Roast follows.  From what I saw, every day includes at least one recipe.  Many are for traditional Christmas dinner types of food, many are for candies and cookies.
  • The words to "I Wonder As I Wander" come next, along with a brief historical note about the song.  Most of the days include music.
  • "Little Tree" by E. E. Cummings is next.  Most days seem to have a poem.
  • There are some gift ideas listed.
  • A couple of pages about Christmas in Portugal are included, and these sections are definitely my favorite part.  Most days have an entry for Christmas in another country.
  • Finally, there are a couple paragraphs of 'trivia' -- one about Christmas bells, the other about the National Christmas Tree.  Trivia types of things seem to be tucked in somewhere on all of the days.
Not included on December 5, but included on about half of the days, is a craft type of suggestion.

What do I think?  This is something I can see using as a read-aloud, though not necessarily following the dating in the book.  I don't see where anything really ties to the date  (except Christmas Eve), which was disappointing.  I'd have liked to see the story of St. Nicholas on St. Nicholas Day (it is on December 13 instead).  Or the story "God Jul!" on St. Lucia's Day.

Everything is definitely family-friendly.  And most everything could be read in little short moments throughout the day.

This is a book we will use more next Christmas season. When I own it for more than the final three days of Christmas.

If you want to see a bit of the beginning of the book, you can.  Just be warned that the formatting on it seemed a bit weird in my browser, so let me note that the colors and page backgrounds in the real book are quite pleasing.

I'd love if you would rate my review!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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