Have you ever wondered about some of the American traditions that have found their way into every American families homes? Most homes have Christmas Trees and decorate them with all kinds of decorations. There are the fancy trees with their white lights and silver ornaments and there are the trees filled with homemade ornaments made by our kids and even family heirlooms.
From the Christmas Tree Farm Network:
Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ's birth. (click the link above for more history details)
Today's storybook is about a Christmas Tree:
The Carpenter's Gift
by David Rubel
Illustrated by Jim Lamarche
About the book:
Christmas Eve, 1931
Henry and his out-of-work father have just finished a long day selling Christmas trees in Midtown Manhattan. Before heading home, they give away the last few trees to construction workers, who decorate the tallest one—the first Rockefeller Center tree! On Christmas morning, Henry awakes to a surprise. The workers have gathered outside his family’s drafty shack with enough lumber to build a simple, decent home. The gift of a hammer from one of the carpenters changes Henry’s life.
With renewed hope for the future, young Henry plants a pinecone he has saved from the Rockefeller Center tree. Over his lifetime, the pinecone grows into a towering spruce. But the circle of giving is not yet complete....
Wow! What a story of the kindness of others when they find out someone is struggling. In The Carpenter's Gift we learn of a family during the Depression Era who are poor. There is no money for coal to keep warm and very little for food to fill hungry bellies. One day Henry and his father go into New York to sell Christmas Trees and when they have sold enough they give their left over trees to the workers who let them set up a Tree Lot on their land. Henry & his Father stay to help them decorate the trees and they all get to know each other. As they are visiting the workers find out how Henry's home is a shack. It's cold and drafty and times are tough. The next morning those workers turn up at Henry's home with trucks and supplies and spend the next week building them a new home. (Can you imagine?)
The Carpenter's Gift is a wonderful story of kindness, love, giving, and how when the going gets tough people (even strangers) draw together and help each other out. Another thing I really liked about the book (other than the AMAZING illustrations) is how Henry's family cares for each other, accepts their lack of material goods and when things are tight they find ways of bringing in money and still help others. In turn, they receive a blessing none of them were expecting.
This book should be on every families bookshelf - it would make a wonderful Christmas gift or Hostess Gift for any family.
Oh Christmas Tree.... (a craft)
Sierra and I saw this fun craft at Barnes & Noble today. I snapped a picture and we are planning on making it this week. Paint your child's hand green and place it flat on a paper (these were precut papers) and when the handprint is dry let the kids "decorate" them. They painted "dots" on the hands for ornaments - I think we are going to use sequins glued on for our ornaments. You could also have the kids paint 2 trees - one with each hand. Decorate it, cut around it and then staple both hands wrong sides together - stuff and hang them on the Christmas tree. =D Here is the poem hung with the hands:
A Christmas Tree
One little star at the top of the tree
Two little presents underneath for me
Three silver ropes twisted round the tree
Four colored lights shining prettily
Five shiny lights flowing silvery
Oh, what a sight for us to see!
Here is Sierra's (age 3) Christmas Tree:
a 6x6" or 8x8" canvas
green paint & a brush
1/2 of a cinnamon stick
a Cardboard Snowflake for the Star
(get at a scrapbooking store - or possibly Michaels)