Many Christmas traditions are a big part of HLA Senior High School Counselor Lani Carey’s holiday season. Although her children are grown and now have children of their own, Christmas traditions are still a big part of the holiday season. Lani started a new tradition with her grandchildren, when they were babies, that has sparked a love of books and reading.

We’ve done lots of wonderful Christmas traditions over the years, including our Christmas Eve party where we have finger food, Christmas cookies, punch, etc., sing the Christmas favorites, let a different child each year read the Christmas story from Luke 2 (we started with the oldest and went down each year), and then let each child and adult open one present. There are lots of traditions, too, around decorating the tree, from the days when the boys went out with their dad to the woods to select and cut down just the right tree, to picking out the tree at a Christmas tree farm and bringing home to decorate, with Christmas songs playing, hot chocolate, and of course, the video camera filming it all.

However, a really cool tradition I wish I had started with my children, but started several years ago with my grandchildren, is giving each child their own set of 12 books the first week of December or at Thanksgiving (because that’s when I see them). I collect books throughout the year at antique malls, sales, dollar stores and order from Scholastic Books – most cost $1.00, but some cost more. Some years, I also include a movie, puzzle or some kind of activity/coloring/painting book. I then pick out wrapping paper for each child’s books – favorite color, character, etc., and wrap all their books in the same paper, so each child knows their books. Sometimes, like this year, I put all the books in book bags for each grandchild. Sometimes I put in a special box or tie them all up with a ribbon and bow. Then they get to open one present each night starting mid-December, so their last book will be unwrapped on Christmas Eve. Sometimes it doesn’t work out like that, but as long as they get to unwrap the books before Christmas and enjoy them before all the other presents, it’s fun! All my grandchildren LOVE books and I think it’s in a large part to this Christmas tradition I started when they were babies. And it’s lots of fun for me as well! ~ Lani Carey

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