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Bears, Mice, and the Spirit of Christmas

Updated on November 18, 2016
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Seafarer Mama/Karen is a journalist who loves to write reviews of places to visit, books for all ages, music albums, movies, and more.

The best gifts come from the hands and heart


Last week, my daughter and I checked out of our local library a pile of books that contained stories set during the Hanukkah and Christmas seasons. Two of them reflected values that I strive to teach her ~ one is frugality and the other is kindness.

"Merry Christmas Ernest & Celestine," by Gabrielle Vincent
"Merry Christmas Ernest & Celestine," by Gabrielle Vincent | Source

Merry Christmas Ernest and Celestine

Written by Gabrielle Vincent, this charming story is about a bear named Ernest and a mouse named Celestine. They are friends who live together in a cozy house, and endeavor to throw a Christmas party for family and friends on Christmas Eve. Ernest had promised this party to Celestine, and she makes sure he keeps his promise. They must be frugal and creative about how they pull together their resources to give their guests a lovely evening full of revelry.

Since the pair do not have any money to spend on this party, they make their own decorations and gifts. They even find lots of festive hats for their guests to wear. Ernest tells stories and plays the fiddle, and everybody dances. When all the guests leave, they wish their hosts a Merry Christmas, and express how grand a time they had. Their guests tell them that it was the best Christmas party they had ever attended. This was also true for the hosts. The warmth of friendship and fond memories that both hosts and guests enjoyed together were gifts that came straight from the heart.

A Holiday Message from the Berenstain Bears

The Berenstain Bears Christmas Tree
The Berenstain Bears Christmas Tree
This special Berenstain Bear story will be a magical addition to your holiday book collection that the family will enjoy re-reading every year.

The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree

It is Christmas Eve and no tree is good enough for Papa Berenstain Bear. With his children in tow, he passes by "Grizzly Gus'" trees in search of the perfect one, bigger and better than all the rest. Unfortunately, all of the ones he chooses belong to the wild critters of the forest. His children convince him to let the animals keep their homes. At the very end of the story, the snow is falling heavily and Papa Bear's heart is turned around by the simple decorations in a tree hole inhabited by a happy snowbird family.

Papa bear finally agrees to buy a tree from Grizzly Gus, but there are no more left. When he and the children return home, they are met with a pleasant surprise! They find that their home, itself a tree, has been decorated by the animals whose homes he left to them. Kindness and compassion reap their rewards.

May the true Christmas spirit be with you the whole year through!

Holiday Literature for Learning & Pleasure

Do you have a pile of books at home to entertain your children during the season of lights in December? So many spiritual traditions advocate opening our hearts to the values of compassion and generosity, and many have written books that reflect those themes.

We have books we read each year that we keep at home on our bookshelves. One of our holiday traditions involves bringing these books down off the shelves and reading one from the pile each day. Others we come across at our local library and our librarian offers time to create ornaments or other related crafts.

The books reviewed above are a few of the many we have read and enjoyed. We hope our fellow book lovers will find unexpected treasures to feed your minds and souls this year, and for years to come.

© 2011 Karen A Szklany


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