This week On the Children's Shelf: holiday books, holiday decorations

Every December when I was small, my mom would pull out the holiday bins to decorate. Ah, I loved holiday bin day. She would begin decorating and I would look through all the boxes finding my favorite holiday things. We had this little toy bus with Santa riding on it…his head would move back and forth as the bus moved. I don’t know why I thought this was fabulous, but I did.

In between the decorations and ornaments were books…a few favorite holiday books that we packed away the previous January. Books I had forgotten about all year until I found them buried in boxes. Books that suddenly pulled me in as I flipped through all the pages.

I’ve continued this tradition in my family. I pack a few favorite holiday books in the bins with the decorations to pull out the next year. When my children were small, they loved when I would pull the books out of the bins. They would flip through the pages. As they got older, they didn’t pick up the books to look through but occasionally would see one in the bin and say, “remember how much I loved that book!”

It’s just a few favorites (not hoarder level of books). The ones you don’t want to give away. The ones your children loved that you hope they read to their children someday and say, “this was my favorite book when I was your age.” While there will be years that you simply move the books to the side and don’t unpack them, just seeing those couple favorites in the bin will make you smile.

It might be many years before my children flip through the pages of the books in our holiday bins again, but I will save those favorite children’s books for that day. Maybe they will read it to a younger cousin or a niece or nephew or someday their own children. I just hope someday, in their holiday decorations box, they keep a couple favorite books from their childhood that will remind them of Christmas years ago when we read those stories.

Jessica Collins has earned several Connecticut Press Club Awards and has been recognized nationally for her series "On the Children's Shelf". Visit her blog online here to follow her literary journey.

Submitted by Bethel, CT

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