Friday, May 11, 2007

The Happiest Season of All

From time to time I intend to share "reviews" of Christmas books that have been a blessing or a help to me over the years. Probably some will be out of print, but I imagine most can be found used through different online sources.

Today I want to recommend The Happiest Season of All, a Holly Pond Hill book written by Paul Kortepeter and illustrated beautifully by Susan Wheeler. This book was an early Christmas gift from my younger daughter in 2002. She thought I would get more fun out of this gift if I opened it at the beginning of December, so that's when she sent it to me. What a wonderful book it is! I get this book out every year right after Thanksgiving, for it offers ideas and helps from then on.

The Introduction ("Joy to the World") is a wonderful way to set your heart in tune for the coming holiday.

The first section, "Tis the Season/Welcoming the Holidays", offers many ideas for Advent and other pre-Christmas activities and a delicious-sounding recipe for Yuletide Punch, which I really must try this year.

The second section, "Draw 'Round the Fire/Making Hearts Ready" has lovely ideas for keeping Christmas, a Christmas cookie exchange, the scents of Christmas, and a batch of wonderful Christmas cookie recipes.

The third section is called "O Holy Night/Enjoying the Wonders of Christmas Eve". It has among other things an assortment of yummy-sounding recipes for Hot Chocolate and Hot Vanilla. The one for Hot Butterscotch Chocolate sounds fantastic.
The final section is "God Bless Us, Everyone!/Celebrating Christmas Day, filled with ideas for that day. It includes some Victorian Christmas games to play and some projects to make for feeding the birds, as well as a special eggnog recipe.

The illustrations alone are so beautiful, I would enjoy this book even if it had no words. But the stories and essays are lovely too. It's a special part of Christmas at my house.

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