At this time of year, I start looking thinking about ….(dare I whisper it……) Christmas. It comes around all too quickly and every year I decide I’ll be more organised and get all my presents bought and wrapped by December 1st. That has always been the plan! Carrying out the plan is a different matter entirely and usually I end up panic buying stocking fillers in pound shops and grabbing stuff that will ‘do’ from high street shops at the last minute. To my great shame, I bought my husband a meercat last year. He’s not a fan of cuddly teddies, or meercats, I just lost it whilst wandering around Toys r Us in late December. So, my point is – I publicly declare…this year will be different! No more meercats!
My first task is to put together the kid’s stockings – In particular, I love buying new books to roll up and slot in the top of them. I used to treasure the ones I got in my stocking when I was a kid because they were ‘special’ ones that Father Christmas had brought for me. Even now I can remember reading stories about ‘Pip’ the fairy, written by Enid Blyton, in my mind’s eye I can still see it poking out of the top of the old grey woollen stocking my sister and I used to tie at the bottom of our beds. I always think books are wonderful presents that last the test of time, if they are loved and appreciated they are read and re-read and passed on through the years. Plastic toys get broken, chocolate gets gobbled, but books tend to last.
If you want to get on with organising Christmas in advance too and if you have kids, maybe you’d like to consider Barefoot Books? I have in my possession a copy of ‘The Story Tree’ Tales to Read Aloud retold by Hugh Lupton, and illustrated by Sophie Fatus which comes complete with CD and absolutely gorgeous illustrations. Personally I think this would roll up perfectly and fit in the top of any child’s stocking and make for a very lovely gift. It also comes with a CD at the back of the book, so you can tuck your children into bed on the night of the 25th and they can listen to the dulcit tones of Hugh Lupton reading the tales, leaving you to crawl downstairs and drink a well earned glass of sherry.
This book is written for children under five apparently, but my daughter is beyond that age and still thinks this book is fantastic. I read a few stories and both she and her brother actually sat still, didn’t try and attack each other for once, and actually listened to the tales and commented on the illustrations. A little island of calm for a couple of minutes at least.
There are 64 pages, and 7 stories originating from all around the world. There’s the ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ from Norway, ‘The Magic Porridge Pot’ from Germany, Monkey-See, Monkey-Do from India, ‘The Sweetest Song’ from Africa / America, ‘Little Red Hen’ from Blighty and ‘The Blue Coat’ which is a Jewish tale. Every single page is illustrated with people and animals and places, all in great detail. The perfect bedtime book! And I’m not just saying that because I’m reviewing it, it genuinely is.
If you would like a copy you can click on this link to access the online shop : Barefoot Books. Speaking from personal experience, the delivery is quick, the packaging appropriate, and the price reasonable. Start your stocking shopping early!
This month Barefoot Books (through this link only) are also offering to donate 10% of all profits to the NSPCC – in addition to this every person who places an order this month will have their name put into a hat and will have a chance at winning a £20 voucher of their choice.
One lucky person can have this book free of charge though! I have the review copy to give away. All you need to do is comment and follow this blog by clicking on the ‘Sign Me Up!’ button. Please remember to put your Twitter or Facebook name on here. To make the comments more interesting I’d like you to mention on of your favourite ever stocking presents. Books aside, I used to love licorice swirls with sweets in the middle, they made my tongue go black which I always thought was amazing! Simple pleasures eh!
I’ll choose a lucky winner on the 1st December. :O)