Well, friends.....

It is official.

No one in my classroom is listening to me. read-aloud time.

At any other given moment of our school day, they are tuned out.

My constant cajoling, explicit instructions, gentle guidance, and repetitive reminders are falling on deaf ears.

They have better things to do besides follow my directions or complete multi-step tasks. They are very busy discussing what their Elf on the Shelf did last night and talking about what Santa is going to bring them. They have family parties to go to and holiday movies to watch instead of reading at home and completing their weekly word study activities. They do not understand the urgency in my voice when I ask them to please focus on finishing their parent gift instead of poking their neighbor with a Sharpie marker.

Even though they have been told numerous times that teachers have a direct contact with the North Pole, they still insist that pushing in line and telling someone that the gingerbread man they created looks like a "doofus" shouldn't be cause for removal from the "Nice List."

Twenty-two children who have turned off their "listening ears" vs. one teacher who is just trying to remain sane until this Tuesday at 3:35 p.m. is NOT a fair match-up. I am outnumbered and should really be equipped with a white flag of surrender. The full moon shining by night last week--and the buckets of snow on the ground--has just accelerated their lack of cooperation. Add grading and end-of-the-quarter assessments on top of the hullabaloo, and you've got us all riding the "hot mess express!"

The ONLY time my students have been quiet this week is when I circle them around my rocking chair and share my favorite holiday picture books. Believe me, we are gathering at "story corner" at least three times every day!

It is my saving grace.

It is the calm in our storm.

It keeps the comfort and the joy in our day.

It brings peace and goodwill.

I owe authors Cynthia Rylant, Chris Van Allsburg, Patricia Polacco, Jan Brett, and many others a huge debt of gratitude for creating magical stories that are still able to mesmerize children suffering from the pre-Christmas frenzy. The rest of the time I feel like I am just keeping the lid on a pan full of popcorn, in hopes that it won't explode all over the room! Each of the five stories featured below include an important message about giving back instead of always expecting to receive.

Instead of writing a summary of each book, I've just included a favorite quote. May each one resonate with you and your students during this special season. May they help you take a moment to reflect upon and rejoice about simpler things.

I hope these special stories warm your heart as you share them with your students, your children, or your grandchildren. If you don't have funds to purchase these titles or time to check them out of your local library, most can be found on You Tube!


Written by Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet

Written and Illustrated by Patricia Polacco

Written by Lori Evert
Photographs by Per Breiehagen

From Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Illustrated by Renee Graef

Written by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Ted Rand

If you do add these books to your personal collection or decide that they'd make a great gift for a family member, you might want to read about this lovely Icelandic tradition and make it your own!

Click {HERE} to learn more!

As always, thank you for sharing my story! 

I hope you enjoyed this post and will come back often!


Calm the holiday crazies in your classroom and home with five classic and heart-warming picture books.  Their message of giving more than receiving is an important one during this special season

Continue to hold a song in your heart and teach your children well!


  1. Oh goodness...I'm off to purchase every single one of these titles! They look AMAZING. There is nothing more powerful than a good read aloud (annnnd that's coming from a technology teacher here!) Thank you so much for sharing :)
    The Techie Teacher

  2. I LOVE Welcome Comfort! One of my all time Christmas faves! I just discovered The Night Tree this year, and I have already put your other titles in my cart! Great post! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. What a gift you have for writing!! I smiled, laughed, AND empathized my way through your whole narrative!! Thank you for such great reading suggestions (LOVE the quote idea!) and such a heartwarming post! The most blessed, merriest, AND restful of Christmases to you and yours!!! <3

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Jody! I am glad that my post made you smile! May your holidays be merry and bright!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.