Monday, December 8, 2008

Santa Claudia's Top Kid Picks

What a week last week was.  I feel like 1,000,000,000 great ideas for gifts were generated and swapped among readers.  Thank you, everyone for generously giving your gift of creativity.  I picked up a few fun ideas that I think I'll try this year.  Let's make a deal.  If you give a gift recommended by someone at Highlowaha, how about posting a comment and letting us know how it went?  It will be a fun way to let one another know the difference you make in each other's lives.

Today.  Today we begin a week of Claudia's Top Kid Picks.  It's a little self indulgent, I know.  I'm not a toy consultant, a toy maker, or Oprah who - though, not an expert - would at least be giving one of everything she talked about to each of her loyal viewers.  No.  It's certain, I am no Oprah.

But, I am mom.  I love giving gifts.  And, I especially love giving gifts that capture the imagination of kids.  AND, I have a lively, engaged, and creative community of readers with whom I engage each day.  So, I am CERTAIN, that between you and me, we will have a fun week rediscovering Christmas through the eyes of kids!

Don't have kids?  I work hard at trying to be relevant to as many of our readers as possible and I can't help but think my suggestions will be as good coming from an aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, sister, babysitter, or even anonymously from one of Santa's secret elves.

Today we're talking books.  I love sharing books with kids at Christmas, because unlike a plastic, battery operated toy, the image of a book can last forever.  Books help create the sense of anticipation that makes Christmas feel so magical.  Hearing about Santa Claus, while looking at pictures of his toy shop or his reindeer, makes the wonder of this holiday seem palpable... even believable.  Each Friday, for the next three weeks, I will steal away 20 minutes of my morning to share a book with Matthew's class.  Here are my top picks.

How Santa Got His Job
By: Stephen Krensky
This clever book tells of all the jobs Santa had leading up to his most important job as Santa Claus.  None of his jobs, including such things as a chimney sweep, postman, or circus performer ever worked out.  It wasn't until he met a group of elves who helped him use all his special talents, that Santa was able to find his dream job.   Approximately 30 pages.  $6.99. 

Idea: I will start out by asking each child in Matthew's class what they want to be when they grow up.  Maybe I'll record what they say and present it to their parents as a keepsake.  Also, This could be a fun gift for someone graduating or for someone who works with college aged students (as, "What should I do with my life?" is often a question asked).

Snowflake Bentley
By: Jaqueline Briggs Martin
As someone who loves history, I am in LOVE with this book!

Based on a true story, this tale tells of Wilson Bentley who - often misunderstood in his time - took pictures that even today reveal two important truths about snowflakes: no two are alike and each one is beautiful.  It is a great story of a young boy who is not only exhibits perseverance, but who also has passion for nature.  It is laced with facts about Wilson Bentley's life, while at the same time tells a great tale.  Approximately 30 pages.  $16.00 in hardback.  

Idea: After reading this book, I will have each child make a paper snowflake, so we can see how each is different.  I could also bring snowflake cookies or snowflake ornaments.  Let's see how ambitious I am.

Santa Claus
By: Rod Green
This book is nothing short of magical!  It is a pop-up interactive book going into great detail about everything from the North Pole, to Santa's House, the elves, the mail room, Santa's work shop, the essential elements of Santa's suit, how his sled works, and how he delivers his presents.  

Idea: I am going to a dinner party next weekend and the hostess has three children.  I will give her a copy of this book.  I love it so much that last week I anonymously left a copy (with chocolate chip cookies and a note from Santa) for a family at my son's preschool.  It is $19.99 and worth every penny.  

  • Congratulations, Lori:  After much tasting and re-tasting, the Struble bar flies voted Lori's mustard recipe yesterday's winner.  December 30, Richard and Tera face off for what will mark the beginning of Snack Throw Down, Round Two.
  • Owl' Nest: Thank you to all the North Texans who were able to participate in this weekend's event.  Heather shopped for Lily and for Stacie and the nine-year old girl for whom Stacie is seeking a gift.  Heather and Stacie are both are the recipients of our prize.  Each of them wins a personalized lap desk in the color of their choice.  Stacie, I will email you color choices and you can let me know whose name you would like on it (in addition to graphics.  ie. flowers, basket ball, zebra stripes, etc...).  I will reveal some of our finds as the week goes on!  Heather took pictures, so you'll get visuals too.
  • Festival of Lights:  Kudos to all of you who got your trees up this weekend.  Remember one week from yesterday, Sunday, December 16 at 8:00 CST, we will host our First Annual Holiday Celebration.  All are invited.  To "attend," simply submit a photograph of you and/or your family in front of your tree, menorah, or another holiday decoration of your choice.  Submissions due Friday, 12/12, by 9:00 p.m.  To participate in the Ornament Exchange simply do the following: (1) Purchase an ornament.  (2) Take a picture of it unwrapped.  (3) Take a picture of it wrapped.  (4) send both photographs to cspgradstudent at  Photos must be received by Friday night at 9:00 p.m.
  • Cassie's Great Santa Claus Adventure:  It's not too late to make the day of a son, daughter, niece, nephew, neighbor, or even a child in the hospital.  Simply send Cassie P. a holiday card (postmarked 12/12) and she will hand deliver it to Santa Claus, Indiana for a magical postmark on Monday, December 15.  Her mailing address is Cassie Patterson, 103 Meadow Drive, Sellersburg, IN, 47172.  Check in later this week to find out what fun things we have planned for Cassie on her road trip.
  • Letters to the North Pole:  Looking for a place to mail your child's letter to Santa?  Try: Santa Claus, 41 North Kringle Place, Santa Claus, IN 47579.  They have volunteers who reply to letters FREE!

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