Every year I wrap up Christmas books (mine, the library's, my mom's), put a pretty bow on it that I collected from last years gifts (my mom adores putting ribbon and bows on every gift, so this is not a problem) and then put them under my tree in my classroom.
On a side note about my classroom Christmas tree- each year it seems to have gotten an upgrade. The first year it was about 2 feet high and we named it "the scrawny Christmas tree". Last year I got a nice, fake one from Big Lots. And this year....dum, dumdadum- it has a star on the top of it! Next year, I'm hoping for a tree skirt! :)
Back to the books...
Everyday I pick a new name out of the Christmas box (or sometimes twice a day since there are x amount of kids and only x amount of school days before Christmas!) and that person gets to unwrap a present and then read it to the class. This seems like not that big of a deal- right? Um, right. In the past 3 days, I estimate that a child has asked me when I will pick the next name 4 times every hour. I've contemplated whether or not to write the time I will do this on the board, but then again anticipation is half the fun.
When their name is picked, they also get to pick a candy cane from the tree and a silver bell.
This means that there are many decisions to be made if your name is picked. First, what book they will pick. Some have their book already chosen and pray every time that it will still be under the tree. Some have to touch e..v...er...y single book before choosing it. And others change their mind about 4 times! Then, what flavor candy cane to get. Then, what bell to pick. (They are all the EXACT same by the way.) Next, they need to decide if they want to read it or if they want me to read it. And finally, they have to decide what order they are going to call their classmates over to the rug in. Perhaps, I should have made the process a bit easier for them and cut out the choices- but really, what fun would that be?
Now that you've got the picture of this in your head...here are my favorite things about this "activity"
1. Kids' taste in wrapping paper.
While wrapping the books up, my mom and I take bets on which book will go first based on the wrapping paper. We have some pretty ugly paper that we picked up on sale and then some cute papers as well. However, we never have guessed the most popular papers. Last year, the three wisemen paper was beautiful in their eyes. This year it has been a toss up so far- the plaid paper and strange collage of presents have been on the top though.
2. Seeing what kids value.
For some it is the candy cane. For some the control. But for most...the ribbon. Apparently, the ribbon has such value that everyone wants a piece of it! If you are lucky, you might get a tiny piece of the ribbon to tape on top of your desk. One girl even has plans of sewing the ribbon on the hem of her dress.
3. How hard it is to hold the book, read, and show the pictures.
I love it. I love how they finally realize that it is annoying when they all start saying that they can't see the picture when you are trying to read the book to them.
4. How the magic of Christmas shines on kids' faces.
There is no denying it. There is something in the air at school. It is a hyper, excited, and eager something. But, it is also a magical, can't help but smile and sing, wonderful something that the innocence of children bring to Christmas.
At the end of the day, one of the girls came up and panicking said that there was a bell on the tree with no bell in it so it made no sound. Another girl overheard the conversation and said, "Oh no! That means that you don't believe!"
and we meet
5 hours ago