Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reading and Watching This Christmas

We brought three Christmas decorations with us:  the stockings, the Advent wreath, and Toby's nativity scene.  It was a good plan--we have no storage here, and I am not missing all the effort of decorating (and undecorating).  That also means that the seasonal books were left behind, so our seasonal reading and viewing and watching has all been via the library and Netflix.  Here's a bit of what we're enjoying this year--mostly for my reference so that I can buy/rent/find some of these again next year.

  • Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh and J.otto Seibold - Cute pictures, fun read.
  • Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett- I'm just getting to know Jan Brett, and loving everything I've found.  Her text is sometimes a bit much for my 3-year-old, but this one repeats a rhyme throughout, and he likes that a lot.  Like the Gingerbread Baby, Toby is always trying to make friends, too, so he always seems so genuinely happy at the end when the Baby finds his Friends.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss - we're all big Seuss fans around here lately.
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg - I might be the only one, but I didn't really get into this when I was a kid.  But it has a train, so Toby is hooked.  And he's been sleeping with a little jingle bell he got at preschool ever since we started reading it.
  • The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Rachel Isadora - the classic text, updated with bright collages of Christmas in Africa.  Just plain fun to look through.
Christmas Specials
  • Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas - my husband's childhood favorite.  Totally worth it just for the "River Meets the Sea" song (that also appears on the Muppet Christmas Album with John Denver).
  • Nutcracker: The Motion Picture - We watched this version (because it was on the Netflix instant) after seeing a live puppet show version.  Toby stuck with it nearly all the way through, almost as intrigued by the dancers as by the puppets.  This version features Maurice Sendack's designs, many of the set pieces are his drawings, and his style works perfectly with the trippy-trip-to-candyland-ness of the story.  Oh, and there is a book, too--although it's out of print and evidently very pricey.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas - every time I see this, I am amazed this was made as a children's show, and that it played (plays) on network television.  Love it.
  • Elf - maybe more for mama and papa than for Toby.  But there's enough slap stick to keep him entertained.  Now if I can just teach him to answer the phone "Buddy Elf, what's your favorite color?"
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the old one, of course.  Maybe I'm not being fair, because I've never see the whole thing, but every clip I see from the new one just feels icky.
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol - I had forgotten, until we watched this again, that it's one of the Muppets' better shows.  And that is saying something.

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