Happy December! We've been in full-on holiday decorating mode in the Montague house and have been pulling out all of our decorations since before Thanksgiving!
Growing up, my family had a collection of special Christmas-themed books that magically appeared/only came down from the attic once a year when we pulled out the Christmas decorations. Every year we'd get a new book to read on Christmas eve, but we spent the whole month of December re-reading the previous years' books. In addition to getting us more excited about Christmas, the books seemed extra special because we only saw them for a brief period of time and maybe read them once each year (instead of over and over for weeks straight like some books our kids enjoy!)
We started the Christmas book tradition with our kids when Miles was a newborn, and were super excited to add Soft Enough for a King to our collection last year. It's not only a beautifully illustrated book, but also includes a baby doll, manger and strips of paper "straw" to fill up the manger.
The book tells the story of Abe, the son of Innkeepers who have to turn a special couple away when they don't have any room in their inn. Abe gets the idea to let them stay in the stable behind the inn, but wants to make sure the manger has fresh straw for their baby. On his way to the market to get the straw, he keeps encountering people who need his help, so he has to make the decision to stop and help or keep going to get the straw before the market closes.
The creative retelling of Christ's birth is great, but what really helps this familiar story come to life is how it helps teach service in a way even toddlers can understand. Tying into the story and creating an interactive experience, the set comes with pieces of straw with a place for you to write and record acts of love. Your family gets to spend all of December filling the manger with hay through service just like Abe in the book! It's a simple, lovely little way to show how when you do something for anyone - you're really doing it for the King.
A perfect lesson for any season, but especially fitting for our family as we're trying (some days better than others) to make the holiday season about much more than getting stuff.
We're excited to offer a special discount code for you to get your own set! Just type in montagueart at checkout through December 3, 2016 to take 15% off your order. We are also hosting a giveaway over on Instagram, so head on over to our giveaway post to enter!