With less than a month to go before Christmas, excitement is growing while at the same time we’re aware that Christmas is going to be different this year. With that in mind, how are we to prepare for Christmas? There are lots of suggestions on various web sites about taking Christmas virtual, but, let’s not forget the offline joys even though we will be celebrating with a smaller group.
Within our household, we’re already planning what Christmas baking will be critical this year, bearing in mind that we can only eat so much. The key is going to be considering how long our treats keep and which ones freeze well. For long lasting cookies try something like the gingerbread cookies in Christmas Cookies: Dozens of Yuletide Treats for the Whole Family by Monika Römer. Gingerbread has great staying power, is fun for kids to cut into shapes, and can even be hung on the Christmas tree as a decoration. For a great freezer safe treat, I’ll be turning to the mince tarts in Donna Hay’s Christmas Feasts and Treats. Some of last year’s batch survived in a very disciplined friend’s freezer until the depths of lockdown, when she needed a boost! There are, of course, many more wonderful Christmas baking and cookbooks that grace our shelves for you to check out this holiday season.
If you’ve already got the treats covered and are looking for something to do, we have a wide range of craft books to help you get your home feeling festive! In Modern Holiday: Deck the Halls with 18 Sewing Projects, you’ll find directions for making a variety of decorative items including quilts, stockings, three-dimensional trees, and even a tree skirt. If you’re looking for a variety of crafts, check out Handmade for Christmas: Easy Crafts and Creative Ideas for Sewing, Stitching, Papercraft, Knitting, and Crochet. This slim volume provides inspiration as well as detailed instructions for handmade projects.
Next up, let’s consider if you’d like to create some of your own gifts. While there are plenty of ideas in the craft books which could also serve as gifts, there’s still more to inspire you. A Greener Christmas, edited by Sheherazade Goldsmith, features a chapter entitled “Giving” which includes not only some brilliant ideas for gifts, but also environmentally conscious wrapping options. Other chapters cover everything from your tree to your table.
Perhaps you’ve been reading through this list so far and have seen little to keep children occupied this holiday season. Not to worry! We have plenty of children’s craft and activity books to keep kids of all ages busy. The Merry Christmas Activity Book by Jane Bull contains ideas for bunting, baking, paper mache, and window decorations, among many others. If you’re looking for simple preschool activities turn to Christmas Fun by Fiona Watt. The activities are simple and have step by step images to help complete the project. One last option has some more challenging papercrafts such as magical baubles which are folded, cut, and then carefully glued back together. This project and others can be found in The Usborne Book of Christmas Art Ideas, also by Fiona Watt. Whatever the age or craft we have something to be found in our children’s and adult non-fiction areas.
I know we were trying to stay offline, but there are a couple of special family programs library staff have created which I’d like to share with you. Our final Read this Next of the year will be premiering on December 4th with a seasonal theme. Instead of covering adult and teen books there will be a special focus on staff favourite picture books for the season. The next two Fridays will each feature a puppet show and sing-a-long. Join us on December 11th for Mole and Troll Trim the Tree and on December 18th for Santa’s Magic Hat. Craft activities featured in the shows will be available for pick up at all four branches on a first come, first serve basis.
Wishing you all the best for this holiday season. May it bring you joy in spite of all the challenges we have faced together in 2020.
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas – www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you.