Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 15, 2011

Taking A Few Days

looking in

Happy Tuesday! Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be away from this main blog for a few days so I can concentrate on a few projects** I have going on around here.

I’ll have a new Project Life post on the Projects blog on Thursday and I’m planning to have a couple December Daily check-in posts next week before the Thanksgiving holiday.

**Amidst work-related projects I’m also currently counting how many children’s Christmas books we have on hand. Planning to wrap up 25 of them and open one to read together each evening during December. Not sure if I’ll put them on the mantle or in a basket. I’ve seen this idea in the past and am committed to making it happen this year.

Comments

  • 1.
    Lynn Lynn said…

    I did the book idea last year…my boys absolutely loved it! I used Christmas books we already had but also bought a few new ones. It was a lot of fun and a great way for us to keep track of how many days till Christmas. Of course the days flew by for me, not as fast for the boys as they thought Christmas would never arrive!!! A great Christmas tradition!!:)

  • 2.
    julie macneil said…

    such a great idea! my only child is grown and living in florida this holiday, i am sending here 24 presents (all in one flat rate box) just little things to open each day leading up to Christmas. i did it last year and she loved it!

    • ….
      Monda said…

      Julie I’d love to hear what you’re sending off to your older child. This is our daughter’s first Christmas in her own apartment and I’ve been thinking about a similar idea. Would you share some of yours? deweese.monda@gmail.com Thanks!

    • ….
      Kerry G. said…

      I’ve done this for friends in the past and they loved it too. Things I’ve included: hot chocolate or tea or Starbucks gift card, nail polish, lip gloss, hand lotion, soaps, stationary, pens, favorite snacks, gloves and fun socks, christmas ornaments or decorations, candy, scented candle, bookmark, magazine, kitchen towel, $1 stamps (if they are a scrapbooker), luggage tag, or small kitchen tools. Basically, anything fun and small. I look at Target and Michaels dollar spot all year long and save them in a box. If you buy a few things a month then everything is ready to go in November.

  • 3.
    Crystal said…

    Ali – the idea of Christmas books is such a great tradition, we do it every year. Leads to more family time, snuggling and slowing down. All good things at Christmas. I will get library books to use as well. Last year I used your free download of december daily #1-25 to put on them so that I was sure we would open the library books before they were due back. (the year before I had to open half the books trying to find the ones that I couldn’t renew at the library). I never thought about putting the books on the mantle, that is a neat idea!

  • 4.
    audra said…

    Love the book idea! We have all of our Christmas books in a red wire basket that comes out each season. The kids LOVE it! Any favorite titles new or old anyone would like to share. I’d like to add a couple new ones to our collection.

  • 5.
    Jennifer M said…

    Beautiful shot!

  • 6.
    Michele H. said…

    I love that you always have fresh flowers in your home. Beautiful photo.

    • ….
      Clas said…

      Personally, I dislike the cover on the James book. I much rehtar liked the others. I wonder if it’s maybe that this doesn’t focus on any of the women we’ve seen so far and so he’s the focus. But I could be wrong.

    • ….
      shsittnxk said…

      CMkfky dxhpbfasnpuc

  • 7.
    jodii said…

    We have this tradition, however we buy a new book or two each xmas. once we reach 25 i may do this.

  • 8.
    Marilyn said…

    Wow! What an amazing idea. I will pass this on to my daughter who has 2 little ones. But it gives me an idea for my husband. Thanks Ali!

  • 9.
    Queen Mary said…

    OK, wait, what if I have a question? Oh well, Santa does that to me too — gets busy and stuff. So, books. There are about a gazillion night before Christmas books and I think there’s one for a teacher, Simon may get it this year; God bless you doing all that wrapping! Just wanted to say that I’ve been slogging through ALL your prior december dailies so I don’t miss a single idea this, my very first year; and I’ve notice how much your style and attention to detail has changed over the years! Some things change, some things stay the same, some things move, some don’t — no wonder the kids love looking at the books! Um, actually I also had a question. Really. I think I’m going to start with the first Sunday in Advent rather than December 1. I’m going to have to fake it with the daily overlays because I don’t know how to make them for November 27, 28, 29, and 30. I cleverly bought two sets so even if there’s a secret agent limitation on printing I’ll be able to print them out — I think I’ll like the consistency. So I guess my question is, have you ever considered making those overlays for people who want to start with the lighting of the first candle, or am I the only geek out there?

    • ….
      shellyp said…

      Hi, thought I would suggest printing the overlays and placing a number sticker in the square where the date is for the extra days that you need. You could cover the area with scrapbook paper and place the number over top of that, or just use paper the entire length of the bottom area and date with a date stamp of some kind or stamps! All kinds of possibilities!
      I love this overlays and actually use them throughout the year by covering the bottom, I love the area inside the box to journal and place my photos. And it is economical as well (sorry Ali, this probably doesn’t help sales to suggest this! :) )

    • ….
      Ali said…

      No worries shellyp – totally what I would recommend.

    • ….
      Queen Mary said…

      Hmmmm, Shellyp, I don’t know how to reply to just you so I hope you get to see it — that’s what I planned to do! I’ve been spending HOURS looking through ideas people have posted on Flicker and I’m so excited about all the possibilities! And I think I’m definitely going to do Advent through the 12th day of Christmas — that’s how I’ve always done it with the kids — nothing came down until Jan. 6.

    • ….
      shellyp said…

      Hi again, I can identify with the excitement for this project. I’ve been doing a DD book since 2007 and every year I love it even more! I have taken mine to the 31st of December most years simply because I love New Year’s eve, probably more than Christmas :) .I have a few friends that scrapbook but none of them get as excited about scrapping as I do, so it’s great for me to read all your comments on here and “sense” everyone’s excitement! I love Ali’s blog and projects, and enjoy reading all the comments from everyone here and sharing ideas. I love your excitement for this and I hope you enjoy your project this year (don’t stress, just focus on the memories) and have a wonderful holiday.:)

    • ….
      Queen Mary said…

      shellyp you are in the same spot I am! I do have some scrapbooking friends — but I know them through crops and that’s when I see them; my sister calls it a cult; my stamping buddies don’t get it; my husband the saint smiles and nods; so I too am enjoying this on line community and its wonderful sharing! I definitely want a picture of a box left at the front door! I saw that in someone’s DD from a prior year and I LOVE the idea!

  • 10.
    Christine said…

    I love the book idea. I think Christmas won’t be Christmas without a reading of the Polar Express.

  • 11.
    kayleigh said…

    We are doing the countdown with books as well – i think the kids are going to love opening a new book before bed each night. :)

    Happy reading Ali!

  • 12.
    Joanne Maycock said…

    Love the idea of wrapping up the Christmas books. I have a bankers box in storage of all of our Christmas stories, that one day I hope to bring out for my grandchildren (if I am so blessed) to enjoy with me like I did with my own girls. And this was a long standing Christmas tradition from the first of December everynight until Christmas, sometimes 2 or 3 books a night. My girls are 18 and 20 and they still talk about their favorite Christmas books.

  • 13.
    Colleen F said…

    I did the 25 Christmas books when my girls were little. It was so much fun, I kind of miss it now. Will have to wait until grandkids I guess.

  • 14.
    Carolynhasacat said…

    this is AWESOME.

  • 15.
    Diane Herman said…

    I did the 25 books last year too…kids loved it :)

  • 16.
    Kirsten said…

    *Please* check out a book called “Moosletoe”. It is wonderful, sweet, funny, and Christmas :)

  • 17.
    Kimmie said…

    Have fun with your project, Ali! I saw this idea on the web before, but haven’t done it. We don’t have anywhere near 25 Christmas books unfortunately. But we *are* doing an advent calendar for each child for the first time, so that’s going to be fun! I also ordered JRR Tolkien’s “Letters from Father Christmas” because of a recommendation here, so I’m excited to get that and hopefully start another new tradition! Looking forward to your return…

  • 18.
    Maria said…

    Some of my favorite Christmas stories to read as a fifth grade teacher are written by Patricia Polacco. The titles include Welcome Comfort, The Christmas Tapestry, and An Orange for Frankie. Her illustrations are gorgeous too.

  • 19.
    alida said…

    Enjoy the Projects! We are also getting additional Christmas books every year, and new Christmas pajamas. Love your traditions!

  • 20.
    mandee m said…

    so glad to hear that i’m not the only one who has busted out the polar express already! we started with it last week… love that story!

    love the idea of putting the books on the mantel. we always have put them in a “christmas” basket under the tree, as that is where we read the stories when they are opened. such a great tradition.

  • 21.
    Karen said…

    I am doing the same thing this year! I am reading a Holiday book everyday, but I am also doing a craft that goes with each book. I am sooo excited, and am collecting/buying books to wrap and get ready. Can’t wait to start!

    Have Fun! Happy Thanksgiving!
    Karen

  • 22.
    suzitee said…

    What a great idea! Will be doing this one for sure :)

  • 23.
    dawn said…

    Loved doing this when my kids were little too.

  • 24.
    denise sanner said…

    great idea ali. i gave ethan the lego advent calendar to countdown to his birthday (11/30)…he is loving it. for his birthday he is going to receive the lego city advent calendar so he can continue counting down until Christmas. i showed him how great these figures, etc. look in the printers tray that has been lying around our home for years. it now has a new home in his bedroom. you are a great enabler ;) ….and source of inspiration too! thanks, and enjoy your time away to be productive.

  • 25.
    Jakki said…

    GORGEOUS photo…absolutely gorgeous!

  • 26.
    sharongrey8 said…

    We have done this for several years, but I think I wrap about a hundred books (not all Cmas, I do throw in some beloved favorites that I took out of rotation in early summer so they would seem new again.) We can never get by with just one book – and this way the three youngest can all pick one for Papa to read. Funny thing is that the 12, 15, and 17 year olds all gravitate to the living room at that time of day so they can listen, too :)

  • 27.
    deb S said…

    I wish for you inspiration abound!

  • 28.
    Robin said…

    Love the book idea! I used to teach first grade and I know that kids love it, perfect count down to christmas activity. Thanks for the reminder Ali :)

  • 29.
    Shauna said…

    We do the book tradition, even now when we have older kids (Jr high to college). We also put up two trees, the smaller tree in the family room has all the book “presents” under it and the tree in the living room has the Christmas presents under it. I like the subliminal message that books and reading are gifts we give to ourselves. Sometimes we’ve taken a few nights to read through one book (It’s A Wonderful Life), on very busy nights there are some very small, so obviously short, books. If you haven’t yet bought Red Ranger Came Calling, do it. Sure to delight!

  • 30.
    Helen said…

    Beautiful photo, Ali. I’ve been busy gathering Christmas books too! Can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when we read them, together, all of December!

  • 31.
    Val said…

    Love this idea, definitely going to do this with my two boys, they love to read and this is extra incentive to sit down with them in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holidays and spend some quiet time reconnecting. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • 32.
    Pam Abbott said…

    We ar doing this tooooooo! To save me a huge headache of wrapping with wrapping paper, I bought the big pack of Christmas tissue paper from Costco!

    Happy Days to you!

    Pam

    • ….
      Ali said…

      That’s a good idea – I was thinking about using some of the brown grocery sacks we have here that usually get recycled.

  • 33.
    Lynnette said…

    I did the 25 books for the first time last year, but instead of 25 books I threw in Grinch bingo and a Christmas movie to change it up for a couple of nights – it is so much fun we are doing it again this year.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Love that idea -

  • 34.
    slmnontec said…

    I think all these traditions are superb, but I do get saddened by those who forget that Thanksgiving is first. We are so blessed every single day by the God whose birthday we celebrate in December. The world seems to pass by the simplicity of enjoying a month of Thanksgiving….

    When my daughter was little we did just as much on a daily basis as we did on Christmas. We listed our simple blessings on paper leaves completely filling a large bowl. I kept each and every one.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I don’t think anyone forgets about Thanksgiving (I totally know what you mean) – for me I’m sharing here what I’m thinking about in advance. I also try to really live with gratitude daily – it’s a big part of the memory keeping I do throughout the year.

  • 35.
    Lisa W. said…

    Love…LOVE the book idea and so will Simon and Anna. I so miss reading to my kids…they are 23, 21, and almost 18:) Well wishes on your other projects and looking forward to your next post!!!

  • 36.
    lynne moore said…

    This is a great idea. I have been wrapping little gifts (packs of gum/tic tacs) for each night of Channukkah. As my kids are older (high school plus) this makes sure they still have something to open every night we light candles. Even if they know it’s only another pack of their favorite gum – it’s appreciated. Maybe I will add our holiday books into the mix just for fun….a bit of a tease, but we can all stop and share the story together.

  • 37.
    Christin Dukes said…

    Thank you for the idea Ali. I have started digging out the Christmas books and while I was doing that I found a lot of snow books too. I am going to do this in January with all the snow and smowman books I have. I will wrap those in snowman paper and put them away until January 1st when we are deep into snow in Michigan.

  • 38.
    Stacy said…

    The Christmas book basket has been a holiday mainstain in our home. We fill it with books from our home library and our local libraries. No wrapping (cute idea, though)…We just pick a few to snuggle with and read each night before bed. Mary Englebriet’s ‘The Night Before Christmas’ is a favorite here. Thanks for sharing!

  • 39.
    georgeinci said…

    Absolutely adore the 25 books of Christmas idea – I have sourced a few new ones to add to our current collection and am about to wrap them up and number them – such fun and so exciting!
    Ali, so many thanks for all your inspiration. You not only save beautiful memories, thoughts and feelings for your family to treasure forever but also for so many others out there! We don’t celebrate thanksgiving here in the UK, but Ali I am so thankful for you! x

  • 40.
    Farrah said…

    I did this last year with my boys and they loved it. I didn’t have quite enough books, so I checked some out from the library. It worked great!

    • ….
      Christine said…

      Love this idea!

  • 41.
    Tona said…

    I love the Christmas book a day idea. Good luck. I hope that you make it happen.

  • 42.
    Elisabeth costa said…

    Each Christmas we give our children a book and an ornament. They are now 15 and 12 and still enjoy when we pull out the Christmas books to place in the basket. When we dress the tree it’s always a happy time remembering whose ornament is whose and trying to remember what year they received it. Then when they leave our home they will bring their collections and memories to their own homes.

  • 43.
    Stacie said…

    have always done the basket of books but never wrapped them! great idea Ali! I will jump on that…and of course i need to get on over to Target so that I can pick up the new Lego City advent calendar! :) LOVE CHRISTMAS!

  • 44.
    Steph S said…

    Ali – thank you for posting this! i love the idea! I just went on Amazon and orderd some books, I noticed someone mentioned the JRR Tolkien’s “Letters from Father Christmas” and I also ordered Merry Christmas, Stinky Face, Legend of the Christmas Stocking and Merry Christmas Mom and Dad… I Christmas books!! Can’t wait, thanks! never heard of this before.
    We also have the awesome Lego Star Wars Advent calendar!
    Happy Happy to Plan!!! Thanks! Steph

  • 45.
    Karen said…

    I so wish I had known this idea about 16 years ago (my daughter is now 19) I suppose I will need to wait for the grandchildren now.
    Might have to start buying the books now though so I have a great collection

  • 46.
    Larissa Heskett said…

    LOVE the idea of CHRISTMAS books to unwrap each nite!! THANKS for sharing!! Have a FABULOUS WEEK!! =)

  • 47.
    Kimber-Leigh said…

    we did the wrapped books last year and we loved it! the kids looked forward to it every day, and it really helped them “see” how long until Christmas. i would find them counting the books left all.the.time. :)

    and just a tip, in case you enjoy it, last year one evening after Christmas while we were watching a movie, i rewrapped the books, so that they would be ready to go dec. 1…i know that i sometimes have so much going on that it’s nice to have a few details done so they’re ready to go. (i also pack the kiddos magnet advent calendars in my bin of autumn decorations so that i can have them ready before december arrives!)

    i hope you get a lot accomplished…and that you enjoy the book countdown!

  • 48.
    Krystal said…

    We do the 25 books to countdown to Christmas, too. We put our uner the tree so that there are presents there early on and it doesn’t seem quite so bare as we wait until Christmas Eve after the kids are in bed to actually bring out the gifts for the morning. Enjoy this new tradition! It’s so much fun.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Love the idea of having them under the tree – I’ll likely do that vs. the mantle. Thank you!

  • 49.
    Susan R said…

    We did this for the first time last year, 25 books all wrapped up and the kiddos got to pick one, taking turns choosing, for their joint bedtime story. They loved the anticipation and the last week before Christmas they were positively giddy knowing that Christmas was just around the corner. I picked up some of my books from the used book store as well as the library so I didn’t have to go out and buy all 25 Christmas books all at once. I also love the idea of putting them under the tree and mixing in some Christmas movies/ games.

  • 50.
    Lauri said…

    With both of our sons in college now (Fresh and Soph) I am loving the idea of sending them back to school after the Thanksgiving break with a box of little gifts to open each day until they come home for Christmas break. I’d like to make it sharable since they both really enjoy their roommates/suitemates…does anyone have suggestions for 18-19 year old boys?

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Maybe movies? Games? Video games? Deck of cards? Cribbage? Snacks :) . That would be such a fun thing to send with them.

    • ….
      Lauri said…

      thanks Ali! I should have added that the boys will be preparing for and taking final exams during their last few weeks of school before Christmas…I’m thinking some red bull and 5 hour energy?! lol

    • ….
      Camille said…

      I love all of these ideas. How about Starbucks instant coffee packs, sharpened pencils, new pens, homemade cookies. These boys could share all of these things.

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