Bookish Christmas Fun

Are you looking ahead to a Christmas that doesn’t involve extra family and friends as much as previous years’ celebrations? Perhaps you usually travel, but this year you’ll be home.

We know that Christmas vacation may look a little … empty this year. We spend a lot of time before Christmas meditating on Advent and looking ahead to celebrating the Incarnation. But the days just after Christmas? What will you do when you are stuck at home and the “weather outside is frightful”? When the hubbub of Christmas preparation has died down, the presents are opened, the feast consumed?

Bookish Christmas Fun

The 12 Days of Christmas, Book-Style is one answer to the “what do we do now?” question. Members, you can download a set of 12 activity cards, and use the ideas below on the appropriate days.* Not a member? Feel free to pilfer at will from the activities below, even if you don’t match them to a colorful card.

*Members, look for the 12 Days of Christmas as your December printable at your Member pages: Silver Key page. Golden Key page.

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Preschool-Elementary: Check out our Winter Storytime List

Older Kids:

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen ObedThe Snowflake: Winter’s Secret Beauty by Kenneth Libbrecht (amazon link)FOOD AND RECIPES FROM BOOKS

Check out recipes online or in your favorite cookbooks, or look for some of the literary cookbooks at your local library—put them on hold now!

Doughnuts (from Farmer Boy and Homer Price)Gingerbread men (from The Gingerbread Boy)Homemade bread and jam (from Bread and Jam for Frances)Sandwiches and hot cocoa (from A Wrinkle in Time)Cookies (from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)(Vegetarian) Pemmican (from Swallows and Amazons)Tea (pair this with A Visitor for Bear, Mr. Putter and Tabby, any classic British story, etc.) Blancmange (from Little Women; one possible recipe)Ma’s Pumpkin Pie from the Little House CookbookSee if your library has the Redwall Cookbook, by Brian Jacques himself,  or the  Unofficial Narnia Cookbook. Lots of fun stuff in those! See also (amazon links): The Star Wars Cook Book: Wookie Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes, The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook.MAKE SOMETHING FROM A BOOK

Check out some craft or activity books from the library and have the book + supplies ready to go. Not a crafty type? Don’t worry—all you need for some origami is printer paper, a pair of scissors (to cut the paper into a square), and directions! Many of these are written directly to kids, so you can make a cup of tea and grab your own book while they get to work.

The Dangerous Book for Boys (amazon link; this is a RR staff favorite and we reference it a lot! Kids can learn codes, build stuff, and more with this book)Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction (amazon link; there are 4 books in this fun series and kids LOVE them: secret agents, ninjas, weapons of the dark ages, spitball warfare…)Ultimate Slime (amazon link)Junk Drawer Physics (for your aspiring engineers and kids who love to see how things work)LEGO books are in the 688 and 790 sections in your local libraryOrigami books are in the 736 section in your local libraryCraft books are in the 754 section in your local libraryDrawing books are in the 740s section in your local library (this is a good option if you have children or teens who are into comic books and graphic novels)FAVORITE MOVIES BASED ON BOOKS

We might complain that a screenwriter didn’t get it quite right, but most of us enjoy watching movies based on favorite books. Here are some RR staff favorites. Age recommendations are general; you know your children best! A good rule of thumb is that if a child isn’t ready to read the book, he or she should definitely not watch the movie!

(Links are to IMDB. We encourage you to read reviews if you’re unfamiliar with a particular movie; commonsensemedia is a good source of movie reviews for parents.)


Kit Kitteridge: An American Girl (2008) The Chronicles of Narnia (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005), Prince Caspian (2008), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010)) The Secret Garden (1993) The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Muppet Treasure Island (1996) Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) The Railway Children (1970) How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) The Jungle Book (2016) (Ages 8-up)Peter Pan (2003) (Ages 8-up)MIDDLE GRADES AND TEENS

Little Women (2019)  (Ages 10-up)Holes (2003) (Ages 10-up)Anne of Green Gables (1985 TV mini-series) and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Kevin Sullivan producer edition) (Ages 10-up)The Princess Bride (1987) (Ages 10-up)Around the World in 80 Days (1989) (Ages 10-up)Pride and Prejudice (1995) (Ages 12-up)The Fellowship of the Ring (2002) (Ages 12-up)To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) (Ages 12-up)Horatio Hornblower movies (1998 and after) (Ages 12-up)The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) (Ages 12-up)What other movies-based-on-books has your family especially enjoyed? Do you have favorite craft or activity books to recommend?
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