Tag Archives: christmas

15 Multicultural Christmas Books for Kids

Sure we’ve all read The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas a hundred times…but there are a ton of other amazing Christmas books out there for kids, many of which teach children about celebrations around the world.

From a feminist take on the three wise men to stories about those who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, here are 15 multicultural Christmas books to add to your family reading list!

christmas-books

15 Multicultural Christmas Books for Kids

Light the Lights!: A Story about Celebrating Hanukkah & Christmas
A delightful picture book captures the warmth of family tradition as Emma and her family celebrate two holidays–Hanukkah, a time to light the menorah and play dreidl games, and Christmas, a time to sing carols and open presents.

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The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story
A particularly irate latke is the star of The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, but many other holiday icons appear and even speak: flashing colored lights, cane-shaped candy, a pine tree. Santa Claus is briefly discussed as well. The ending is happy, at least for some!

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Grace at Christmas
Grace loves Christmas – acting out the nativity story, opening presents, celebrating with Ma, Nana and Paw-Paw. But this Christmas Nana announces they will have visitors from Trinidad. Grace is horrified! She does NOT want to share the day with another little girl she doesn’t even know. But after some wise words from Nana, Grace’s generous spirit shines through.

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Yoon and the Christmas Mitten
When Yoon’s teacher lends her a book about Santa Claus, Yoon can’t wait to show it to her parents. To Yoon’s disappointment, though, her mother responds, “We are not a Christmas family.” As Christmas Eve approaches, Yoon learns more and more about this exciting holiday. But no matter how hard she tries to convince her parents to sing Christmas songs or put up Christmas stockings, they always say no. A determined Yoon soon realizes that she must use her own “Shining Wisdom” to persuade her parents that they can indeed be a Christmas family.

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Too Many Tamales
This is the story of a treasure thought to be lost in a batch of tamales; of a desperate and funny attempt by Maria and her cousins to eat their way out of trouble; and the warm way a family pulls together to make it a perfect Christmas after all.

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Tree of Cranes
As a young Japanese boy recovers from a bad chill, his mother busily folds origami paper into delicate silver cranes in preparation for the boy’s very first Christmas.

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La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story
Nina is visiting her grandmother in Miami for Christmas. Usually she spends it in snowy New England with her mother and her family, but this year is different. She isn’t certain what to make of a hot and humid holiday, until she learns the traditions of her father’s side of the family from her Cuban grandmother.

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The Trees of the Dancing Goats
Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family’s preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

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The Snowy Day
No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snow Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever. The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

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Three Wise Women
Three wise women follow a bright star to find a very special newborn baby in a stable, where each of them is able in her own way to give the child a gift, in a feminist adaptation of the Nativity story.

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N is for Navidad
From the angel hung above the door to the zapatos (shoes) filled with grass for the wise men’s camels, each letter in this festive alphabet introduces children to a Spanish word, and each colorful page takes them through another joyous aspect of the 22 days of the traditional holiday.

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The Legend of Old Befana
This is a delightful reading of the favorite Italian Christmas story about an eccentric old woman and her never-ending search for the Baby King.

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The Spider’s Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story
Although Katrusya’s family cannot afford to celebrate Christmas, they cut a small pine tree in the forest, decorate it with buttons, and when baby spiders hatch in its branches, they especially enjoy the silvery webs that appear.

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Coyote Christmas: A Lakota Story
On Christmas Eve, Coyote wants to find some people to trick out of a hot meal. Sneaky Coyote is known in the Native American tradition as the Trickster. He knows that there’s one character people can’t refuse on Christmas Eve: Santa Claus! Using straw for a jolly belly and wool for his Santa’s beard, the Trickster fools a family into welcoming him to their Christmas meal. But just when he thinks he’s gotten away with his ruse, he’s foiled by a strange occurrence. Could it be a Christmas miracle?

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Jingle Bells
Join children on a Christmas sleigh ride around the world as they discover traditions from Mexico, Sweden, the Philippines, Poland, Italy, Kenya, and the United States. Festive illustrations show the customs and foods that each country has to offer. Music and lyrics are also included.

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Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

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19 Fun Facts about How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Bleeding hearts of the world unite!

Whether you’re a fan of the original TV special or the newer 2000 movie starring Jim Carrey, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without The Grinch.

A story with a sweet message and a curmudgeon you can’t help but love, both versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas have become beloved classics in homes all over the world. And with the recent release of the 2018 version starring Benedict Cumberbatch, The Grinch as seen a resurgence in popularity…

the grinch smile GIF

If you are a fan of the original, the remake or both, you’re going to love this collection of 19 Fun Facts about How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

19 Fun Facts about How the Grinch Stole Christmas

how-the-grinch-stole-christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

The original Grinch from the Dr. Seuss book was black and white with pink eyes. The decision to make him green came from animator and director Chuck Jones when he created the original animated film.

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Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and Jones actually worked together previously on Army training videos. They created an instructional cartoon called Private Snafu, featuring a bumbling protagonist who helped illustrate the dos and don’ts of Army safety protocols.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas almost didn’t get made because it didn’t have a sponsor. However, it finally found support from The Foundation for Commercial Banks…despite the popular line: “Perhaps Christmas doesn’t come from a store”.

The budget for HTGSC was massive, about $300,000 ($2.2 million in today’s dollars). That was almost unheard of for a TV cartoon, especially compared to the popular special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, which had a budget of $96,000 (or $722,000 today).

Though they don’t appear in the book, Geisel also wrote the lyrics to “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”.

Dr Seuss Matthias Brown GIF by Christmas Classics

Narrator Boris Karloff is often credited with singing the title song; however, it was actually the voice behind Tony the Tiger, Thurl Ravenscroft. Geisel did not give Ravenscroft credit in the film (which supposedly was an oversight) and wrote a letter to him to apologize.

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Geisel thought the illustration of Grinch had a striking resemblance to Jones himself.

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The voice of Cindy Lou was provided by June Foray, a legendary voice actress who also voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Lucifer the Cat in Disney’s Cinderella, and Grandmother Fa in Disney’s Mulan.

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Karloff also won a Grammy for his narration of the HTGSC story on the vinyl record.

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Towards the end of the special, the Grinch’s eyes change from red to blue to match his change of personality from evil to good.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Eddie Murphy and Jack Nicholson were both considered for the role of the Grinch before Jim Carrey was cast in role.

Jim Carrey Christmas Movies GIF

It took Carrey almost three hours to get all the Grinch makeup on, and about an hour to take it off. He spent a total of 92 days in full makeup.

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It was worth it, though. The film took home the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.

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The film was almost directed by Tim Burton, however it conflicted with Burton’s then project, Sleepy Hollow.

Cindy Lou Who is played by Taylor Momsen, who would go on to be Jenny Humphrey in Gossip Girl.

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The actors who played Whos also had to go to Who School to learn movement and facial expressions.

The movie also included a fair number of Cirque de Soleil performers for the acrobatic stunts.

The man who played the young Grinch was Josh Ryan Evans, who was 18 at the time. He had a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia.

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Carrey’s Grinch suit was made with yak hair, dyed green, and sewn onto a spandex suit.

Jim Carrey Christmas Movies GIF

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

 

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Grinchy Christmas Ornament

Looking for a cute stocking stuffer for your little Grinch lover Whoville citizen? This Grinchy Christmas Ornament is just the thing! Filled with paper, feathers, or any other green, Grinchy filling, this ornament takes minutes to make and even features a quote tag from the book.

PIC

Grinchy Christmas Ornament

Materials:

  • Clear plastic ornament
  • Green filling (such as feathers, paper, or even paint or glitter)
  • Red felt heart
  • Hot glue gun
  • Grinch Printable Tag (see below)
  • Red ribbon or twine

 

Instructions:

Fill your ornament with your green filling. Be sure to keep weight in mind (avoid using heavy things like beads unless you have REALLY supportive branches!).

Using a hot glue gun, attach your felt heart to the outside of the ornament.

String on the printable with red ribbon and you’re good to go!

 

Want to make your own? Here’s the tag:

grinch-printable

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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It Came Just the Same!

the-grinch

“He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!”
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Come back every Tuesday for “The Bees Knees”, where I post the best quotes from my favorite movies, TV shows, songs, and books.

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12 Splendiferious Grinch Recipes

Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots, Mr. Grinch…

The Grinch Smile GIF

But these snacks inspired by the Grinch will have your heart growing to two times its normal size!

Whether you’re brave enough to go see the new Grinch movie (sense my sarcasm?) or you’re just a fan of the original book/movie, these great grinchy treats will have you banging your tartinkers and slanging your sloo-slunkers!

12 Splendiferious Grinch Recipes

GRINCH-RECIPES

  1. Grinch Cake
  2. Grinch Candy Bark
  3. Grinchy Rice Krispie Treats
  4. Grinch Cake Balls
  5. Grinch Ice Cream
  6. Grinch Smoothie
  7. Grinch Pretzel Bites
  8. Grinch Cookies (dairy free!)
  9. Grinch Cake
  10. Cut-Out Grinch Cookies
  11. Grinch Popcorn
  12. Green Grinch Fudge

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

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25 Fun Facts about It’s a Wonderful Life

There are few movies that hit me right in the gut like It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s the only holiday movie I can only watch once a year because my delicate emotions just can’t handle more than that.

That being said, It’s a Wonderful Life is up there as one of my favorite movies ever. There’s something so honest and raw about it, something in George Bailey that just gets to me every time.

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Ironically, though it’s a beloved classic today, It’s a Wonderful Life was considered a bit of a flop when it first came out. It didn’t make back it’s large $3.8 million budget and though it boasted casting several Oscar winners, it wasn’t until several years later that the movie found the following it was looking for back in 1946.

If you find yourself in the holiday spirit, you’re going to love these enduring fun facts about one of the best holiday movies of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life

25 Fun Facts about It’s a Wonderful Life

In the scene where Donna Reed throws a rock through the window of the Granville house, director Frank Capra hired a marksman to shoot the window out on cue; however, Reed broke the window herself. She played baseball in high school and had a strong throwing arm.

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As Uncle Billy drunkenly leaves the Bailey home, it sounds as if he stumbles into some trash cans on the sidewalk. In fact, a crew member dropped a large tray of props right after Thomas Mitchell went off-screen. James Stewart began laughing, and Mitchell quickly improvised, “I’m alright, I’m okay!” Director Frank Capra decided to use this take in the final cut and gave the stagehand a $10 bonus for “improving the sound.”

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The gym floor that opens up to reveal a pool was real. It was located at Beverly Hills High School in Los Angeles.

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James Stewart was nervous about the phone scene kiss because it was his first onscreen kiss since his return to Hollywood after the war. Under director Frank Capra’s watchful eye, Stewart filmed the scene in only one unrehearsed take, and it worked so well that part of the embrace was cut because it was too passionate to pass the censors.

Its A Wonderful Life GIF

Director Frank Capra said It’s a Wonderful Life is one of his favorite films.

James Stewart Christmas GIF

While filming the scene in which George prays in the bar, James Stewart was so overcome that he began to sob. Frank Capra later re-framed and blew up the shot because he wanted to catch that expression on Stewart’s face. This is why the shot looks so grainy compared with the rest of the film.

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The set of Bedford Falls was constructed in two months and covered four acres of land, one of the longest sets in American movie history. It included 75 stores and buildings, a main street, a factory district and a residential and slum area.

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Main Street itself was 300 yards long – about 3 city blocks.

Capra created a new “snow” for this film, using foamite, soap and water. This quiet snow would allow the team to record the sound live. Previous to It’s a Wonderful Life, snow was made using Cornflakes that had been painted white, which were so loud that dialogue had to be dubbed in later.

James Stewart Snowing GIF

A photograph of James Stewart at 6 months old was donated by his parents and included in the film set.

Though a beloved holiday tradition today, the film was considered a flop when it first opened in 1946.

Today it’s ranked as the #1 Most Inspirational Movie of All Time by the American Film Institute.

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The scene on the bridge where Clarence saves George was filmed on a back lot on a day where the temperature was 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why James Stewart is visibly sweating in a few scenes.

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James Stewart cited George Bailey as being his favorite character he ever played, but stated in several interviews that Harvey (1950) was his favorite movie he starred in.

Its A Wonderful Life 1940S GIF

In the scene at the dance in the high school gym, when George Bailey first sees Mary and approaches her, the young man talking to Mary is “Alfalfa” of Little Rascals fame in the uncredited role of Freddie Othelo.

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The part of George Bailey was originally developed at another studio with Cary Grant earmarked for the role. When Frank Capra inherited the project, he rewrote it to suit Stewart.

The entire film was shot in 90 days.

Stewart was 38 years old while filming, though his charter George ranged in age throughout the film from 21 to 38. Donna Reed was 25 during filming, though her character Mary ranged in age from 18 to 35.

James Stewart GIF

George says he hopes to go to college to “learn how to build things”. In real life, Stewart majored in architecture at Princeton University.

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It’s a Wonderful Life marked Donna Reed’s first starring role.

Its A Wonderful Life Christmas Movies GIF

Henry Travers, who plays Clarence, also stars in The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945) as Horace P. Bogardus. When George Bailey passes a movie theater towards the end of the movie, that film is being showcased.

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The scene on the famous poster of George holding Mary in the air is never shown in the film.

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Capra was said to have gotten the idea for the film from a Christmas greeting card.

Mr. Potter is never caught as the thief who embezzled $8,000, which apparently he got to keep. This was unusual for a Hollywood film of the time as criminals were often required by censorship to be punished or made to repent.

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Over the course of the film, there are 42 bell chimes…meaning 42 angels got their wings!

Christmas Tree Bell GIF

Sometimes you just need a little fun in your life! Check back every week for a new “Just Bee-cause” post, where I discuss everything from celebrity news to favorite videos and websites!

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9 Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

Looking for a stocking stuffer for your favorite bookworm? These cute ideas from Etsy are sure to be well-loved by any book lover!

9 Stocking Stuffers for Book Lovers

Light up a cozy reading nook with a themed candle. This little Etsy shop has candles themed for every fandom, including Harry PotterGame of Thrones, and many, many more.

1

This Literature of the World map showcases where famous novels took place. This is one piece of art that any bookworm will love!

2

Nothing pairs with a good book like a pair of cozy socks! These socks can be customized to be a variety of colors.

3

Give your favorite bookworm a cuppa she’ll love with these Novel Teas. Each tea tag contains a quote about books or from a famous author.

4

This message in a locket is a great gift for someone close to your heart. Select a pre-made message or customize it to suit your occasion.

5

Give your bookworm some flair with this Bookworm pin.

6

Every book lover has a collection of mugs…and this Chapter Mug makes a great addition to any collection!

7

Track books read, to read and favorite passages with this awesome reading journal.

8

Most bookworms will agree…the book is (almost) always better. This cute key chain is the perfect reminder.

9

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

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