Audiobook – Dottie the Reindeer

Here is a little stocking stuffer for the kids to listen to. I came up with this story in the last few weeks to entertain my youngest daughter, who often feels frustrated when she is told she is too little to do certain things. It’s about Dottie, the daughter of two very famous reindeer, who can’t wait to be big enough to pull Santa’s sleigh. But while she has to wait until she is a grownup, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some way for her to help on Christmas Eve!

Even when children are too little to do certain grown-up things, they are never too little to do something, and it’s important for adults to find ways for even the littlest among us to contribute.

Merry Christmas!


106 – The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson is one of the funniest books you’ll ever read. Although it’s in the context of a small Christian church putting on a nativity play with the unwanted participation of the six most badly behaved kids in town, readers of all backgrounds will recognize its portrayal of a tightly knit and sometimes narrow minded community being forced to live up to its principles.

If you’re going on a long car ride this holiday season and need something to entertain the whole family, see if your library has a downloadable audio book. You’ll all have a good laugh and do a surprising amount of thinking about the principles you live by, the stories that matter to you, and whether or not you’ve been taking them for granted.

105 – The Elves and the Shoemaker

“The Elves and the Shoemaker” was recorded by the Brothers Grimm and first published in their original 1812 book of folktales. It’s a story that tells of elves who choose to help a craftsman who is down on his luck despite his honest, hardworking ways. Economic hardship is, unfortunately, timeless. But on the bright side, so are kindness and generosity.

“The Elves and the Shoemaker” paints an ideal picture of charitable endeavors, showing that even good, hardworking people con sometimes be down on their luck, and that those who are able to offer help ought to. Once the shoemaker is back on his feet, he is then able to be the one who shows generosity. The story presents an encouraging cycle of kindness, with a subtle reminder that the Christmas season is a good time to revive our commitment to caring for one another.

Activity: Show Generosity

Around Christmastime, lots of people try to think of ways that they can be a “Secret Santa.” Have your kids plan a way to do what they can to provide help to someone who needs it. There may be someone you know in your community who needs direct aid, or perhaps a local charity is in need of money or resources. The most important thing the children should remember is that their acts of kindness should be performed anonymously and with no expectation of recognition or reward. If appropriate, have students write a reflection on why people should perform anonymous good deeds for one another.

49 – The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet is the most famous and long-running holiday tradition worldwide, but when it first came out it was a flop! The story the ballet is based on has had the opposite fate. When it was first published in 1816, Nussknacker und Mauseköning — The Nutcracker and the Mouse King — by E.T.A. Hoffman was wildly popular, but today it is little known outside the German-speaking world.

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King has inspired an uncountable number of adaptations. Tchaikovsky’s is the most famous, but there are many story books, films, stage plays, and works of art based on this story. This year, give yourself the gift of rediscovering this Christmas classic.

Activity: Create your own adaptation

Musicians, artists, storytellers, dancers, and crafters from around the world have all drawn inspiration from The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. You and your students can draw inspiration from this story too! Try one of the following:

      • Create dolls made of paper, felt, fabric, or anything you like to represent the characters in the story. You could even turn them into decorations for a Christmas tree.
      • Act out your favorite scene from The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
      • Draw or paint an illustration for one or more of the pages of the story.
      • Create a dance based on a scene from the story.