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My first Christmas book review of the year – with good reason October 13, 2008

So when is it OK to unleash the Christmas stuff? I don’t know about you, but I get a little offended when the Christmas merchandise hits the drugstores along with, say, the back-to-school merchandise. It reminds me of the TV special It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (remastered deluxe edition), when the Christmas pre-sales overshadow the Easter baskets.

And even though my children will break out a Christmas DVD or book mid-summer (we watched Eloise at Christmastime about two weeks ago, and I admit I was game as anybody), I usually have a rule of thumb about when the whole stash comes out.

OK, so today I have a brand new Christmas book to introduce — for what I think is good reason. It’s the type of book you have to have before December 1, because it’s meant to be interactive with your children, kind of like an Advent calendar but requiring a little more parental guidance than making sure the children don’t open all the little windows on the first day. (Or turn it backwards and hold it up to the light to cheat and see all the pictures — wait, that was me when I was little.)

Secondly, you have to have this book even before that because it can be a two-parter, depending on how you order, and you’ve got to be a bit ready for the aforementioned interaction.

Jingles, by mom-of-five Chrissy Smith, may ring a little familiar to those who’ve done the mischievous “Christmas Elf” hide-and-seek game with your children, but there’s more story behind Jingles than most versions I’ve seen. And the rhyming book, with its whimsical illustrations — Smith did both writing and illustrating –make it more fun and tangible.

You also get the cute, well-made, appropriately jingly plush doll of Jingles the Elf. You can see him at Know that if you order the book through Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you’ll have to flip to the back and order the plush elf separately, which is free with shipping and handling. But it takes 2-4 weeks to receive. So I’d go straight to the source and get them both at once.

You need the plush because you’ll be tucking it into a cute new hiding place every night. As a parent, I can tell you one of the best side-effects of this fun assistant to the “how-on-earth-will-we-make-it-to-Dec. 25” parental issue is that constant reminder that little elves have big eyes and ears with which to make sure every child is behaving, of course.

But my favorite part of the book is the family activities — with recipes for cocoa, crafts, decorating a “Giving Tree” for the animals of the community, a book-a-day activity, suggestions of websites to visit, etc. My older children would have literally eaten this up had we had this little set when they were younger. But I have two more on the way, for whom I look very forward to creating some Christmas magic with Jingles.

And remember, there are only 72 days, 15 hours, and 57 minutes ’til Christmas.

posted by Janie McQueen, author of The New Magic Bookshelf: Finding Great Books Your Child Will Treasure Forever



3 Responses to “My first Christmas book review of the year – with good reason”

  1. Tami Says:

    Do you know if the books stores are carrying these items this year or do you have to order it online?

    This sounds very cute. I think that my kids would love to read this book and take part in the projects.

  2. jbmcqueen Says:

    Hi Tami!

    I do think you need to order this particular book online as a bookstore might only offer to order it for you anyway — but it’s also the only way to get the doll with. But you know, you could also procure an elf elsewhere too!

    There are other book and doll set versions of this same idea, which might well be available in stores but which I personally have only seen online.

    Jingles has cute activities — you’re a crafty family and I think would enjoy it. 🙂


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