The first Christmas book is one our daughter June gave me. It was 3 years ago, and I was just learning how to bake bread. As I have said before, work was very, very slow, and I needed something to do. Phoebe reminded me I like to bake bread, so I did.
With help from a great website (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/) I started learning how to make artisan bread. In an inspired moment, my daughter got me a blank sketchbook to use for bread recipes.
And use it I have. Every time I bake I write in the book. I will transcribe recipes into it, note different approaches, and their results.
I also add other recipes I want to be able to find easily. With information available on the web, in books I own or read, and things others tell me, having one place to store all the info has been really handy.
I don't bake much in the summer, so when fall rolls around, I can read the last few entries to catch up to what I learned earlier in the year. This may sound fairly elemental, but I am terrible about retaining information. So having a place to put it, and find it, has really been a great thing.
The second book also involves June. When she was 3, and her brother 10, we bought a Christmas book. It is called The Christmas Secret, by David Delamare. He is an illustrator who lives in Portland, and we saw a signed copy of his book in a shop.
This year, as you may know, June is in Russia. She is staying there for Christmas, so we are having our first holiday without either our children home. (Her brother Jake has made it home every year until this one.)
But we were not going to let a little thing like a 12 hour time difference and half the globe stand in the way of our tradition. So yesterday morning, her Christmas Eve, we read the first half of the story to her over Skype. I would hold up the photos so she could see them. She knows them so well she would say "Lift it a little higher so I can see the mouse."
This morning we read her the second half. It was very sweet, and makes my Christmas feel a little more Christmasy.
Yesterday after we were done I found an email address for the author. I wrote him a quick note telling him how much the book meant to us and what we were doing this year.
To my surprise he got right back to me. He said he usually gets a note about that book every year. Mine was the first this season. They were very touched and grateful for the story. That, in turn, gave me another high point for my Christmas Eve.
If you have a holiday tradition in your family, tell us about it in the comments. We love hearing about other homestead lives.
I am very grateful for what this year has brought. I humbly hope next year will be as kind to us, and just what you want. Thank you all for sharing it with us.
From all of us at the homestead, Phoebe, myself, the kids and critters, please have a yummy, warm, loving and laughing holiday.