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Story Time: How Santa Got His Job

Story Time: How Santa Got His Job - Crafts and activities for the picture book by Stephen Krensky

O. M. G.  If you have not read this awesome book with your littles yet, get on it.

Here’s the truth.  The reason I love the Christmas season so much is the same reason I love Halloween.  And Tolkien.  And it has nothing to do with my kids–they are just an excuse to let loose.  I will use my grandkids when this excuse runs out.  Because Santa says it best in Rise of the Guardians–my center is wonder.

I believe.

Sure, I’m a mama, I know how the presents really get here on Christmas Day, and I know what it takes to get them here.  But.


I still believe in Santa Claus.  I still believe in all things fey.  I wish I could explain it to you in a grown-up manner you would understand, but I cannot.  I believe that magic can happen–that it does, in fact, happen all the time, and if you are very careful, you can catch it in action.  I believe in these things Way More than my kids do, and I’m okay with that.  They’re old enough now to think it’s adorable, and I can live with that, too.

Magic is how Love Wins, because what is more magical than love?

So when you give me a book that relates Santa’s history and how each of his early jobs prepared him for the Big One?  I’m in.  I’m all in.  And I’m not the least bit embarrassed to admit it.
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Story Time: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

You didn’t think we were going to get through Christmas without a Grinch Story Time, did you?  If you did, you don’t know me very well.

Story Time: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Grinch is my favorite Christmas story.  Why?  Because the Grinch is a naughty guy, but he isn’t evil as might be supposed.  I love the idea of turning the bad guy into a marshmallow, and if you had known my beautiful husband when we first met, you would know I excel at it.  I learned it from the Whos of Who-ville.  The secret is to just keep being good and joyful and let that stuff rub off on the bad guy.  Next thing he knows, he’s been married for 13 years, lives for his family, and would give his neighbor the shirt off his back.  His heart grows three sizes before his brain can catch up.  Yeah, I know, it doesn’t work Every Time.  But when it does work, it’s a beautiful thing.  So it is with the Grinch.

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Story Time: Room on the Broom


Story Time: Room on the Broom-Crafts and activities for the picture book

O. M. G.

I love this book.  I still laugh out loud about having witch with french fries.  And yeah, every time the 5-Creature beast shouts, “THAT’S MY WITCH!”  I totally cackle like a 5-year-old.  Some books just do that to me.  Revert me back to childhood within a few words.  I’m not ashamed.  In fact, if you can’t think of a picture book that makes you feel that way, well.  I mean, shame on you.  But I mean it in the nicest, most encouraging, embrace-your-inner-child kind of way.

Room on the Broom is that book for me.

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Story Time: Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?

Can't You Sleep little Bear

This book is so cute and sweet and makes a great bedtime story, but if your littles like it as much as mine did, they will want to read it any hour of the day.  It’s also a great way for littles to examine their fear of the dark and to see that it is nothing to be afraid of.  Barbara Firth’s illustrations are soft and lovely, with all the wondrous personifications a little likes to see in his story time animals.  Big Bear’s patience with Little Bear’s fears is gentle and soothing, and a bit of a reminder to us mamas who are dead on our feet at then end of a long mama-ing day to take our littles’ feelings seriously and address them without frustration. Win.

But if you’re going to read this book at a time other than bedtime, you’re going to need some activities to go with it, now aren’t you?  And you know how I love to provide them!  So let’s get to it.


Because the personification of this book is such a wonderful feature, take some time to talk to your little about how storytellers use it to help us relate to our own feelings and to animals and other objects in our world.  This free personification worksheet is in my subscriber freebies.

personification-can't sleep little bearScience

Want a fun way to make your littles less scared of the dark!  Teach them to make shadow puppets!  You can have a conversation about how without dark the light wouldn’t be so cool.  Blifaloo has a great pictorial to give you some ideas.

shadow puppets

Have your littles move their light closer to their hands and farther away so they can see the difference proximity makes in the shadow.  Explain to them that their hands interrupt the light, causing the shadow to appear on the wall, the same as their whole-body shadows on a sunny day.  The dark is easier to understand when you realize it’s caused by an object being between you and the light.  And knowledge trumps fear.  There’s a really great lesson plan on ARTSEDGE if you want to study shadows more deeply.  It’s for 6-8 grade, but I think you could easily tweak it for any age.  You got this.


Big Bear brings bigger and bigger lanterns to Little Bear’s bedside to chase the shadows away.  Your little can make his own lantern night light with a few simple supplies.

finished lanterns

What you need:

lantern supplies

  • 8 1/2 x 11 paper (I cut down some pretty scrapbooking paper with my handy dandy paper cutter)
  • Double-sided tape (or you could use a stapler, but the tape gives a cleaner finish)
  • Flameless tealight candle
  • Scissors

What you do:

  • Easy peasy.  If you’re paper is not already 8 1/2 x 11, cut it down.  Either way, you need to cut a 1-inch strip from it first thing (it doesn’t matter from which side) for the handle.

fold paper


  • Fold the paper in half longways

mark lines

  • Mark a 1-inch strip along the unfolded edge.  This is the part you won’t cut.
  • Mark 1-inch strips off from the folded edge to your original mark


  • Cut those strips


  • Unfold paper
  • Put a strip of double-sided tape along the front of one short edge


  • Roll the paper so that the two short edges meet up
  • Press down onto tape (or if you’re using a stapler, staple the top and bottom and somewhere near the middle)


  • Put a piece of tape on the front edge of each end of your 1-inch strip.  Attach to either side of the lantern from the inside
  • (or staple it)

Finished lantern - Copy

  • Turn on your flameless candle and put the lantern over it.

I told you this was easy.


Bears and honey, duh.

Peanut Butter Honey Balls

Peanut Butter Honey BallsThis healthy snack is so simple your littles can make it themselves.  Middle learned it years ago from a beloved homeschooling family who live nearby, and he has been making it ever since.

I’m telling you.  Easy.  And Healthy.  Not making this up.

What you need:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla

What you do:

  • Dump all that in a bowl
  • Stir it around
  • When it’s all mixed together, grease your hands
  • Roll into 1-inch balls

Told you I wasn’t making it up.  Now, you can add chocolate chips or dried fruit or whatever else tickles your fancy (about 1/2 cup will do), but this basic recipe is delicious and good for your littles.  Also, you can refrigerate them for an hour or so to harden them a bit, but if your littles are like mine, they aren’t going to want to wait.  And that’s okay.  Their pretty good while still slightly gooey.

Next time your little can’t sleep or is feeling afraid of the dark, pull out this bag of tricks and teach him something.  Yeah yeah, my friends.  That’s the stuff.

Don’t forget Wednesday is the Grand Opening of my eshop, Lit Looking Glass.  Stop by to check it out and get a chance to get something for free!

Lit Looking Glass Shop Announcement

Love wins,