Home for Christmas

Yesterday I hosted a Christmas party “play date” for the “library girls.” Seven three-year olds, along with their mothers and three baby siblings, joined in the fun.

Christmas Treats

Our Christmas party “play date” was after lunch but we had plenty of yummy things to snack on. Lillian shared the homemade sugar cookies she decorated with Nana. Halley’s trail mix was a big hit with the littles and Ashley’s champaign was a huge hit with the moms! (Don’t worry we deluded it with lots of orange juice). We also enjoyed veggies, chips, banana bread, fruit and watermelon cut into cute Christmas tree shapes!

Christmas Activities

I planned lots of activities to keep these curious three year olds busy!

I made homemade play dough and the littles used cookie cutters and imagination to create their own Christmas treats.

We decorated paper trees with colorful Fruit Loop ornaments. Although I think more of the Fruit Loops ended up in their tummies then on the trees!

To commemorate Lillian’s Minnie Mouse birthday party, our trip to Disneyland and our magical Alaskan cruise on the Disney Wonder, we made personalized Minnie Mouse ornaments. The adults placed vinyl Minnie Mouse cutouts along with glittery bows on pink and red glass ornaments and took them home to hang on their trees.

Since we live in a musical home I passed out jingle bells and led the group in a lively rendition of “Up on the Housetop.”

No party would be complete without a Christmas story. This year I chose to read “Little Robin’s Christmas” by British author, Jan Fearnley. Ms. Shirley, a family friend, gifted Lillian with the book last Christmas and we immediately fell in love with little robin and his giving spirit. The book also lets readers discover how robin got his red breast. The fable has become a new family favorite.

Chelsea, one of the “library moms,” brought festive “crackers or poppers” and shared how they are a Christmas tradition for her daughter’s grandmother who has British relatives. The “cracker or popper” is pulled apart by two people and out pops a small toy, a joke and a paper crown. The littles really enjoyed the treats and I took their picture wearing their Christmas crowns.

Christmas Presents

I created Minnie Mouse themed gift bags for the littles to take home and others brought candy canes filled with m&m’s (a memory from childhood), Christmas candy and stuffed animals. Our children are certainly blessed!

Now it is 6:45 am, the morning after the party. My husband just left for work and my daughter is upstairs in a deep slumber, possibly dreaming about the excitement of all things Christmas. The hardwood floors, once shiny and clean, are now embossed with homemade play dough, cookie crumbs and Fruit Loops. There are toys scattered in every room and I question, “Was the frantic preparation and impeding clean up really worth it? Maybe we should meet at a restaurant next year?” Then I was quickly reminded of the laughter (and a few tears) from the littles, the hugs and stories shared and the cherished memories that were created upon these floors. For a few hours our house was filled with noise and great activity and it’s days like yesterday that make our house a home.

Santa Mouse

As a child Christmas was a magical time filled with family, friends, celebration and traditions. Since my birthday is on December 25, Christmas Day, I think my parents worked extra hard to make sure I didn’t feel slighted or disappointed. They succeeded in building beautiful childhood memories for me and making me feel extra special during the month of December. Anytime I am feeling sad I simply recall my childhood Christmases and I am instantly transported back to a happier time and place. 

Now that Lillian is old enough to create Christmas memories of her own, Ken and I created some new traditions with her along with passing on some of the Christmas traditions I grew up with as a child.

This year I shared the story of Santa Mouse with Lillian and her friends. A few days before Christmas I hosted a Christmas party for the “library girls.” Feeling rather brave, I invited eight two-year olds over for a Christmas themed play date. I wish I could say I handled all eight by myself but I need to add that their mommies were also invited. After feasting on bagels and fruit, playing with cinnamon scented play dough and coloring Christmas images, I invited everyone to sit around the Christmas tree in our great room and I began reading the book, “Santa Mouse.”  

Sharing the story of “Santa Mouse.”

“Santa Mouse” was written by Michael Brown in 1966. The story is about a tiny mouse with no name who lived a very lonely life in a very big house. He loved Christmas dearly and had a special present for Santa. When he gave Santa his prized possession he was named Santa’s helper. The book reminds the children that if they leave a piece of cheese under the tree Santa Mouse will thank them. I shared with the children that when I was a child, along with Santa’s milk and cookies, I always left a tiny piece of cheese under the tree. In return Santa Mouse left me a small present wrapped in shiny gold paper. The present was always hidden in the Christmas tree. I asked them if they could spy a gold package and a few of the children eventually discovered a sparkly gold box with a gold bow under the tree. I had one of the girls open up the box to reveal a little stuffed Santa for each guest to take home. 


My dad was introduced to Santa Mouse while working in the shoe department at JC Penney’s while in college. One December the department store used Santa Mouse in their Christmas marketing and that is when my dad acquired the Santa Mouse book and ornament. Burl Ives recorded a song about Santa Mouse and Michael Brown wrote two additional Santa Mouse books. Long after my childhood days were behind me, my family and I never spent a Christmas where we didn’t open a present wrapped in gold paper from Santa Mouse. And now we are delighted to share the Santa Mouse tradition with Lillian and her friends, the next generation of Santa Mouse believers. Although Santa Mouse is unknown to many and never became as famous as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, in my family he was never forgotten and was loved just as much.