One of my favorite things about being Catholic is the valid excuse to bake holiday goodies from the feast of St. Nicholas to the Baptism of Jesus. Nothing speaks celebration to my soul quite like the spicy scent of gingerbread wafting through the house. If you’re looking for a way to continue this season of celebration, too, I recommend Jan Brett’s Twelve Days of Christmas.
As is always the case with Jan Brett’s books, each page is a visual feast. The animals and figures are masterfully painted, and Brett’s energy and talent are clearly felt. Two pages are dedicated to each day of Christmas, as Brett runs through the classic Christmas carol. Children will delight in counting the animals and people, while also spotting mischievous, milk-stealing kittens and the occasional over-zealous dancer.
In the margins surrounding the main picture, a secondary story line of a family preparing their home for Christmas is told without words as forest creatures peer in with curiosity. These pictures are full of whimsy that never fails to delight my young kids. For lovers of foreign languages, Brett also scripts Christmas greetings in eleven different languages at the bottom of each spread.
Brett’s Twelve Days of Christmas is a holiday staple in our house. We gather around a tray of gingerbread cookies and award treats to those children who can remember the hidden meanings of the Christmas carol, which was originally written in England to instruct young children in their Catechism. Please enjoy this lovely book, and from now till January 9, I say “Merry Christmas!”
Melissa Johnson is a homeschooling mother of six and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
For more ideas about how to make the seasons of the church year (and all things Catholic) meaningful in your daily life, check out our book The Catholic Catalogue: A Field Guide to the Daily Acts That Make Up a Catholic Life (Penguin Random House).