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Bedtime reading with Christmas trees

Our bedtime ritual includes reading stories. Each December, the boys choose from our collection of Christmas books.  

Here are four books we received from the Book of the Month program offered by Ag in the Classroom in North Carolina. They focus on the growing of Christmas trees but also include a lesson relevant to the season.

Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray is an intergenerational story that showcases the time and dedication it takes farmers to grow Christmas trees. It tells the story of Wilma, who decides to give her garden a makeover and plants 62 balsam seedlings. Helped by her young neighbor, Parker, the story follows the years they work together to care for the tees and how many of the original 62 survive until harvest.

The Finest Christmas Tree follows Farmer Tuttle, a Christmas tree farmer. Every year he cuts trees from his farm and takes them into the city to sell. When he sells out, Farmer Tuttle buys his wife a Christmas hat. Then comes the year that everyone wants an artificial tree and the farmer doesn’t sell a single tree, which means no hat for his wife. He becomes discouraged and stops taking care of the tree farm. The next year a sawmill offers to buy them all for wood and he must decide what to do with his farm. A letter from someone wanting “the finest tree in the forest” gives Farmer Tuttle another option. This story is a reminder of the benefits of live trees and how farmers depend on selling their crop to make a living.

In the Night Tree, author Eve Bunting provides a twist to the search for a Christmas tree. Instead of looking for a tree to bring home, the family looks for a tree to decorate for the animals in the forest. It’s a great reminder of how Christmas trees were originally decorated. After reading this story I wanted to get a needle and popcorn and start making some decorations, although my boys probably would have eaten the popcorn.

My favorite of our Christmas stories is The Carpenter’s Gift. It’s set in 1931 and we see Henry’s dad, who is out of work, cutting trees from their forest to sell in the city. He gives a leftover tree to workers building Rockefeller Center. I don’t want to give away the story line, but it includes Habitat for Humanity and traditions that continue today.

I’ve always valued reading to my kids and it’s even better when they learn the truth about agriculture and life lessons such as kindness, humility, and giving. What books do you read your kids at bedtime during December?

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