by Melanie Kozlowski and Chase Chauffe, Children’s Librarians
Holiday checklists shine with our favorite traditions: colored lights, eggnog, candles, warm mugs, and time spent frolicking in winter sunshine and glistening snow. These fine lists wouldn’t be complete without another holiday essential: books.
Reading-themed family activities are a perfect fit for this festive season of holiday gatherings and long winter nights. Studies have affirmed that kids are more likely to become readers if books are present in their homes. Similarly, the presence of books is likely to stimulate positive family interactions—whether it’s with your kids or visiting grandkids, nieces and nephews.
Reading together as a family is the ideal antidote to the frenzy and stress that all too often accompany the holidays. Reading is calming, soothing, and leaves no mess to clean up. At the same time, it exercises the brain, stimulates imagination, and builds vocabulary and background knowledge.
A family read-aloud unites everyone present to a shared experience. Through reading aloud, parents and grandparents can introduce the family to the characters and books they loved as a child: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Curious George, the Grinch, and Charlie Brown.
Kids can introduce Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa to new characters of the holidays: Pete the Cat, Fancy Nancy, Little Blue Truck, and Olivia.
Favorite holiday songs can be read aloud together through picture books: Deck the Halls, Good King Wenceslas, O Christmas Tree, The Twelve Days of Christmas, I Have a Little Dreidel, and By the Hanukkah Light.
We expand our collection this time of year with 275 holiday books for kids, so there’s something for everyone, along with audiobooks, holiday movies, plus everything that’s available 24/7 in our Digital Collection.
Reading brings the family together. And libraries bring families together. That’s evident on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings at Preschool Storytimes. Join us in December for weekly themes to fit the season.
An annual seasonal highlight is the Polar Express Trolley Ride for kids and their parents, grandparents, and caregivers. Hear this heartwarming story, then ride the “Polar Express” trolley while singing holiday songs amid the glowing lights of Estes Park. Sign up at estesvalleylibrary.org for either the Friday, December 6 at 5:30 p.m. or 6:20 p.m. Or Saturday, December 7 at 5:30 p.m. or 6:20 p.m.
For a fun family activity, how about learning to play holiday music on the ukulele? We loan these easy-to-play instruments in the Library of Things. Join music teacher Jenna Williams for a one-hour workshop (we’ll provide the ukes). Register for Monday, December 2 at 6 p.m., or Tuesday, December 17 at 6 p.m.
The Library is here for you this holiday season, to keep your heart aglow through reading and learning with family and community. There is something for all ages.