Tuesday, December 3

NORAD & Christmas Traditions

From reading a new holiday book aloud snuggled together, to attending Christmas pageants, to tracking Santa, every family has it's own blend of holiday traditions.  What is your family's favorite?

Books & Hot Chocolate
When the holidays roll around, we break out the 'Christmas Box' for special out-loud reading time.  This is a box of books that are kept off to the side and considered special, only to be read during the Christmas season.  About mid-November, we'll pull down the box and start reading a new book aloud together as a family each night before bed.

One of my secret pleasures, too, is reading good Christmas books.  I love everything about the season, and don't just read them at the end of the year.  I've been known to pick up a good holiday read in the middle of August!  

Given our passion for reading, and for the season, we've spent some time coming up with our favorite Christmas books, and we are sharing it with you -- our favorite readers!  (Scroll to bottom for form.)

Tracking Santa
As kids, we used to gather around the television on Christmas Eve and watch the regular updates about where in the world Santa Claus was at that moment.  It helped break up the monotony of endless adult conversations and cheek-pinching, and increased the anticipation of Christmas morning all that much more!

These days, our children don't have to wait until the night prior....they can go online and see what's going on in Santa's Workshop during the month of December, write him a short note, play games, and more. 

Both Santa Tracker and NORAD (the original Santa tracker) spend Christmas Eve posting his whereabouts online for kids to follow, and our children have enjoyed keeping this (albeit changed) tradition alive.    (As an aside, do they even do this on TV anymore?)

How it Began
Do you know how NORAD, a military group, even got started with tracking Santa Claus for us?  I'm going to let Mike Rowe fill you in on this funny and heart-warming story....

NORAD Vs. Santa Tracker
The NORAD site is the most useful on Christmas Eve itself, so our children spend a lot of time on the Santa Tracker site for the weeks leading up to the date.  However, on Christmas Eve (and accessible for a few days afterward), NORAD has done a great job with video shorts that introduce your children to landmarks and Christmas traditions from around the world!

While the kids really enjoy the Santa's Village part of Santa Tracker, where they can play games, build gifts, code Santa's computer, and more, my favorite feature of this site is the Educators' Page!   THIS is where the learning happens.  

Actually, that computer coding thing may be in the Educators' section...but it's also where there are geography games, history lessons, and videos.  Each day in December, we set aside a small chunk of time for playing on this site, and the kids have learned a lot about world geography just by playing.  I think we all learn best when we think we're not really learning...  😉

There are physical and political maps to play with and fly over.  On the political maps, you can learn about the climate, geography, and history of each country.  (Not every country in the world is included, but there are quite a few.)

For a more detailed comparison of the two sites, read here.  If you're looking for a fun way to incorporate Christmas into learning, these are great sites for children of all ages....from one to ninety-two!    Personally, my heart lies with the NORAD site, if only for the sake of sentimentality...
In the church pageant, one son played Santa Claus.  The other played Joseph.  I thought the character assignments were a good fit!  Santa learned all about the true meaning of Christmas from the Holy Family.  My mother used to have a book and statue, called Santa and the Christ Child, which was my favorite holiday decoration....so I loved the ending of this pageant.

Download the Bibliophile's Christmas Wishlist  (fill out form below)
Broken down into five separate categories, this list includes everything you'll need to gear up for the holiday season.  It includes old classics as well as brand spankin' new reads.  We've also added a gift guide and a special, craft-y gift designed just for you!  

The five categories include :
  • Kids' Inspirational
  • Kids' Fiction
  • Adult Inspirational
  • Adult Fiction
  • Non-fiction

If you don't have a Google account or the form doesn't work for any reason, please just drop us a line and we'll email it to you!


  1. We keep our Christmas books separate, too! What a great resource you've provided. Thanks so much!

  2. decorating

  3. Volunteering for the homeless.

    1. I've always wanted to do the soup kitchen thing....just dont really know where to go / who to contact about it.

  4. pizza on Christmas eve! YUM! :D


    1. We do pizza for Thanksgiving (I know, it's weird). :) Love the simplicity for Christmas Eve!

  5. My favourite "tradition" is just being able to get together with ALL of my family at Christmas. Love them so much!

    1. YAY! Glad tidings at Wanda's house! :)

  6. I would love to see the LEGO Architecture Buckingham Palace 21029 Landmark Building Set under our tree.

  7. Love opening Christmas eve PJs with the whole family. We can only afford it some years, so we enjoy it when we can. abrennan09@hotmail.com

  8. The whole family goes to church together to see the Christmas Cantata.


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