Our Christmas, and Goodbye, 2013

Happy New Years' Eve!  Happy Seventh Day of Christmas!  

I could give you all a glorious look back at 2013 here at Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes, but I never even wrote a proper Christmas Day post.  Why?  I was too tired.  Why?  Because my precious monsters daughters decided to secretly set their alarm for THREE AM that day.  Big Sis tells me they checked out all their Santa presents, then turned the radio on and danced to Christmas music for a while.  Big Sis got a start on a potholder with her new metal loom.  At some point, they watched Despicable Me 2.  Once in a while, they came into our bedroom to keep us updated.  Finally, someone crept in next to my very sleepy head and shook a box of macaroni and cheese next to my ear.  "Mommy, can we have macaroni for breakfast?"  "Huh?  Well..."  I remember looking at the clock and exclaiming, "No!  I'm not making mac and cheese at five o'clock in the morning!  Go back to bed!  Give Mommy and Daddy another hour or two."  Then the kiddo went to Mr. B's side of the bed.  He woke up and said, "Well, what the hey, it's Christmas."  He says he got up, made the macaroni and cheese, then as he brought it to them, he noticed it was still completely dark outside.  

I slept a couple more hours, but I was pretty bleary-eyed all day.  Mr. B and Big Sis took naps, but Little Sis was gung-ho for playing, and I needed to make lasagna for Christmas dinner.  (By the way, much love and appreciation for the Walgreen's employees who had to work on Christmas Day.  Mr. B had to make five or six trips, because we kept finding things we'd forgotten or ran out of.  It was just that kind of day.) However, by the time family arrived - my dad, my grandma, and my sister, her husband, and her daughters - I had two lasagnas, a salad, and a gingerbread loaf ready to go.  We ate, we opened presents, and we sang "Happy Birthday" to my grandma, a Christmas baby.  My dad got her a most unusual cake this year:  a box of cherry cordials with candles poked through the plastic.  This was a very, very casual Christmas.

Big Sis has promised me that next year, they won't get up until at least seven.  She actually felt bad that Mom and Dad missed seeing them find their Santa presents.

As for books...

Above are the books Big Sis received for Christmas.  Mr. B and I got her The Betsy-Tacy Treasury.  My dad got her The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, and The Terrible Troll-Bird.

Little Sis received a set of Junie B. Jones books from the parents (thank you, Scholastic order form!), along with her own copy of Sophie's Squash.  My dad got her Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin (swoon).

My dad got me an Emily Winfield Martin book, too!  He also got me this glorious Mary Pickford coffee table book.  Big Sis was as excited about that one as she was her own presents.

Since Christmas Eve, we've been treated to visits from two of my friends who have moved to New York, my mom, stepdad, and brother from Oklahoma, and we babysat Little Sis's best friend and her brother for a day. 

My friend Amy brought the girls ornaments from the Russian store near her office building in New York.

 We have't begun a big clean-up or purge yet.  I'm trying to relax and just try to enjoy Christmas and the fact the girls are home.  It's hard.  I did have to devote all of Saturday to the massive piles of laundry.  My external hard drive is still "at the doctor's," and the first attempt to recover all my data, years of pictures, music, and video files, was unsuccessful.  Whiny whine whine.

But the good things:  Little Sis is thrilled to lie around the house, watching TV and making art as much as possible. Big Sis and I have become loom bracelet-making fools. Yesterday, we shook off the world and went to see Frozen again.  Mr. B got to see it with us this time.  He loved it, too!

No big plans tonight.  Mr. B has to work, although he will probably make it home by midnight.  The girls and I will do a little housework, then we'll do something cheesy.  I mean that literally, too.  Until tomorrow...

Happy New Years' Eve!  Hope 2013 was good to you.  See you next year!

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The Snow Queen, in Pop-Up Form

Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen: A Tale in Seven Stories.
A Pop-Up Adaptation of a Classic Fairy Tale by Yevgeniya Yeretskaya.
Jumping Jack Press (A Division of Up With Paper), 2013.

Now that the presents have been opened at our house, I must share this beautiful book we gave to my sister. We share a love for Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" (thanks, Faerie Tale Theatre), and when I found this spectacular book at a lovely shop in Lindsborg, KS, I knew I had to get it.  Truth be told, I'd have loved it for myself, but I thought my sister would love it, too.

This book is stunningly beautiful.  The complete fairy tale is here, with gorgeous pop-ups and pull-outs.

The same paper engineer and company also published Snowflakes: A Pop-Up Book, which I have seen on many blogs and websites this holiday season.

I'll leave you with this video from Up With Paper.  They show off the book much better than I can.

By the way, Big Sis got another version of "The Snow Queen" for Christmas - remember this one?  We do love our fairy tales...

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Christmas Day

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore L.L.D.,
illustrated by Arthur Rackham.  Gramercy Books, 1991.

One more book on this Christmas Eve night:  A little pocket-size edition of Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas, as illustrated by Arthur Rackham in 1931.  [By the way, this book is going on my wish list for next year!]

Christmas With Olivia

Olivia Helps With Christmas by Ian Falconer.  Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007.
Olivia plush by Gund.

Yesterday's post was all about vintage picture book characters and their Christmases.  Today is all about OLIVIA.  Because I love Ian Falconer's Olivia, and Olivia Helps With Christmas is one of my family's favorite Christmas picture books.

One of the later presents in our Advent garland - well, not exactly in it, but wrapped under the tree, with a note in the Advent bag telling the girls where to find it - was a sweet little cookbook and cookie cutter set I bought at the Scholastic Book Fair.

Chef Olivia Cookbook and Cookie Cutters Kit.  Recipes developed by Lara Starr,
photography by Mattew Carden.  Chronicle Books, 2013.

Christmas baking with Olivia?  Why, yes!  Let's do this!  How about "Perry's Jam Cookies," made with raspberry jam?  Pretty similar to linzer cookies, my favorite treat from my high school German class.

Aren't they pretty?

There are a lot more recipes in the book besides cookies.  Energy bars, sandwiches, whoopie pies, smoothies, cakes.  I'm excited.  I need to make something Olivia-shaped soon!  Not surprisingly, the cookbook ties into the Nickelodeon television series.  I'm not sure the Olivia of this book would be so into "Pink Princess Potion."

One last look at last year's Olivia-themed Advent garland gift...  Tonight is Christmas Eve!  I have one more post scheduled for this evening, if you're up for it...

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A Vintage Character Christmas

Two more days until Christmas!  It doesn't seem possible!  It feels like I just wrapped up my crazy month of Halloween posts.  So here I go, cramming as many goodies into one post as possible.

I dug through the card catalog - er, plumbed the depths of the online catalog - to find as many vintage Christmas books as possible.  Here are a few wonderful books featuring favorite picture book characters that have been around a while.  Only two of these books are currently out-of-print, as far as I can tell.

Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans.
Orig. published in a McCall's magazine insert, 1956.
Current reprint: Viking, 1985.

I love Madeline.  She is one of my favorite characters.  That said, Madeline's Christmas is a strange one.  Everyone in the old house in Paris is sick, except for Madeline.  She is taking care of everyone, when a rug salesman appears at the door.  She buys all the rugs to warm her charges.  The salesman returns, frozen to the bone, intending to get his rugs back.  Instead, Madeline takes him in and warms him up.  Out of gratitude, the salesman, who is also a magician, turns all the rugs into flying carpets, and all the little girls fly around.  Merry Christmas!


Babar and Father Christmas by Jean De Brunhoff.
Random House, 1940; reprint edition, 2001.

This is one from my personal collection.  The elephant children learn about Father Christmas and his gifts to humans.  They ask Babar if Father Christmas couldn't come visit the elephants, too.  Babar sets off in search of Father Christmas.  He is finally found by the "dwarves" (elves), half-frozen in the snow.  Father Christmas and his dwarves warm him up, then Babar discusses his reason for coming.  After a tour of Father Christmas's home and workplace, which is actually underground, Babar invites the man back to the Elephants' Country for a vacation.  Father Christmas gives Babar his own magic suit, and promises to visit the Elephants' Country again.


Christmas Eve at the Mellops' by Tomi Ungerer.
Orig. published by Harper & Brothers, 1960.
Reprint by Phaidon, 2011.

I love this one.  Mr. Mellops tells his four boys about Christmas decor, and all five decide to surprise the household with a Christmas tree.  No one needs five trees, so the boys set off to find someone who needs a tree.  The orphanage, hospital, and prison are supplied.  Finally, they find a girl crying in the street.  There are many poor, sick people in her house.  The boys not only bring their trees to each person in the house, but they bring medicine, food, and firewood, as well.  It's a lovely lesson in giving.

Harold at the North Pole by Crockett Johnson.
Orig. published by Harper & Brothers, 1956.
Most recent reprint by HarperCollins, 1998.

Harold needs a Christmas tree before Santa arrives!  But first, there must be snow.  And if there's snow, why not a snow man?  The snow is everywhere.  It looks like the North Pole.  But where is Santa's house?  Oh!  The house is buried in snow, and Harold is on the roof!  So Harold draws Santa coming up out of the chimney.  He gives Santa his reindeer, a sleigh, and a bag of toys, before he remembers the tree!  He finishes drawing the decorations, and falls asleep in the chair, waiting for Santa.


Orig. published by Knopf, 1952.  Most recent reprint, 2004.

Oh, Petunia, I love you!  My favorite goose goes for a walk, and at the next farm over, finds a gander named Charles. Charles is fenced in, being fattened up for Christmas dinner!  Petunia simply must save him.  She disguises herself as a monster, in order to help Charles escape.  This works, but Petunia is discovered behind the disguise, and Charles is recaptured.  So Petunia decides to earn money to buy Charles's freedom.  When begging doesn't work, Petunia gets crafty and sells her homemade Christmas wreaths.  She doesn't earn enough money, but Charles's owners are touched  by their goosey love, and set Charles free.  He and Petunia have a Christmas wedding.  Awwwww...


Kay Thompson's Eloise at Christmastime by Kay Thompson,
illustrated by Hilary Knight.
Orig. published by Random House, 1958.
Reprint by Simon & Schuster, 1999.

OOoooooo, I just love Eloise!  And Christmas.  And Eloise at Christmastime.  Here we see how the Plaza's most precocious resident celebrates the holiday season, skipping about the Plaza, decorating, caroling, dreaming, dancing, and doing all the usual things Eloise does.  This is Hilary Knight at his best! Along the bottom of the page in tiny print is an Eloise Christmas song.  By the way, did you know Kay Thompson recorded a song in her Eloise voice called, "It's Absolutely Christmastime"?  It's available on a CD set called Think Pink! A Kay Thompson Party.  The song can be purchased for download at Amazon.  (It's noisy.  Just a warning.)

Now for a little bonus, I'll leave you with more Kay Thompson and more Eloise!  

First, here is Part One of an edited, shortened teleplay from the Playhouse 90 TV series, from 1956.  This was Eloise's first appearance on television!  (According to the recent biography on Kay Thompson, it was kind of a nightmare, all around.)

Here is Kay Thompson singing "Eloise."

And here are a couple of Christmas recordings by Kay Thompson's protegee Andy Williams, "Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells" and "Happy Holiday/Holiday Season," both arranged and partly written by Thompson.

And one last look at Kay herself.  

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