JOY to the WORLD: Advent Activities for your Family, by Kathleen M. Basi, Liguori Publications (Liguori, Mo., 2010) 80 pp; $5.99.

joytoworldLooking to reclaim Advent in this season that seems to have been taken over by retail merchants hawking their wares? “Joy to the World: Advent Activities for your Family,” by Kathleen M. Basi, offers a variety of activities to help your family prepare for the holy time of Advent and Christmas. Basi offers a morning ritual, including an Advent calendar which organizes daily activities into four categories of service, spiritual growth, “homebody” and “pure fun,” an evening ritual which includes the Advent wreath, Jesse Tree and simplified Scripture passages easily understood by children and a “good deeds manger” to help the family focus on preparing their hearts for Christ’s coming.

Full of innovative ideas, this booklet offers ideas for people of all ages.

whoshidingWHO’S HIDING?, written by Vicki Howie and illustrated by Krisztina Kallai Nagy, Liguori Publications (Liguori, Mo., 2010) 20 pp; $10.99.

This Christmas lift-the-flap book is a beautiful way to introduce young children to the story of the first Christmas and Christ’s birth in a stable. The story takes readers from the angel Gabriel’s delivery of her message to Mary that she would have a baby to Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem to Jesus’ birth in the stable manger and the arrival of the three kings. As the story progresses, the reader meets the various characters by lifting flaps to find the angel, a shepherd and even baby Jesus.

This sturdy board book is enhanced with beautiful, colorful illustrations by Krisztina Kallai Nagy.




newchristmascheerCHICKEN SOUP for the SOUL: Christmas Cheer, by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and edited by Amy Newmark, Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC (Cos Cob, Ct., 2008) 380 pp; $14.95.

This Christmas Cheer version of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series is chock full of inspiring stories, sure to put you in the Christmas mood. Heartwarming, inspirational and fun stories will help the reader enjoy the Christmas spirit into the New Year.

As is tradition with the series, the book contains 101 stories focusing on the true meaning of Christmas, Christmas through the eyes of children, holiday humor, the Santa files and more.

Sure to bring a tear to your eye is the piece by Barbara Bartlein, a hospice nurse who wrote of moving back to Wisconsin from Colorado, only to find she was scheduled to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

While she couldn’t go to her family’s home for Christmas, she brought her family to the hospice, creating a most memorable experience for the patients and her family.