Written by Leisa Watkins
My parents created a tradition in our home that, for me, brings back even fonder memories than the annual visit from Santa. It was an annual visit from the Christmas mouse. The Christmas mouse was a tiny creature who sat in our living room during the month of December.
On Christmas Eve we anxiously waited for signs of life because that meant he was busy getting ready to deliver a box of gifts. Usually after dinner we would find him sitting on a wrapped box. Inside we’d find books, games or other media selections, compliments of the Christmas Mouse. We’d anxiously looked for the book that was intended for us. Even though it was meant for the family there was always something in the box for each person. We could tell what gift was intended for which person because there was always something inside that we were interested in at the time. We went to sleep that Christmas Eve already absorbed in the book and anxious to keep reading more.
Each one of my brothers and sisters has carried this tradition on with their families. My parents made it easy to ensure the tradition lived on because we each received the magical mouse as a gift one Christmas. And now their grand children love the tradition as well.
Just as kids traditionally set out cookies and milk for Santa my girls set out things like crackers and water for the Christmas Mouse. They always manage to find the cracker nibbled on, or devoured, and have determined that preparing for his visit must leave him unusually thirsty. They even insist on having him sleep in their bedroom. That does however pose a little bit of a problem when the mouse is ready to make a delivery.
At our house, most years, the mouse only came to life on Christmas Eve. That was the magic night when he delivered a big box of books, games, music, and an occasional video game. However, last year, he broke from tradition and came to
life more than once. This created even more excitement and my kids look forward to each day wondering if the Christmas mouse was going to visit that day.
For example, one day last December we returned home to find the Christmas Mouse had delivered another literary gift in our absence. This time it was the book If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laurie Joffe Numeroff. Inside the covers of the book we found an envelope that contained a note to take him to the movies. Also included were tickets for the entire family, and a gift certificate for popcorn and drinks. We quickly ate and then left for the theater. We arrived just in time to view the Disney movie Enchanted. We even had the entire theater to ourselves.
Six year old McKayla fed the mouse popcorn; made sure he could see the screen and had a fantastic time. She was so thrilled to take the mouse to the movie that I am sure this will now be an annual tradition at our house, even when the kids get older.
We are now carrying the tradition year round. The Christmas Mouse’s brothers and sisters each have a month where they deliver fun family traditions all around a literary theme.
So start your own holiday literary tradition and help your kids develop a love of literature.
Note; This section of the website will be dedicated to fun activities and traditions that involve book so stay tuned for more ideas.