I love to read, and I love to read to my kids. I especially love to read stories to them that have a meaning behind them, or that teach a lesson. At Christmas time, we add stories about the nativity to our reading list.
We first read The Sparkle Box, from Ideals Publications, in 2012. It became an instant family tradition. Each year, as we get our our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving, the kids ask excitedly if we're going to do The Sparkle Box again. Without fail, my kids smile with delight when the book is lifted from our Christmas totes and set out.
The Sparkle Box, written by Jill Hardie and illustrated by Christine Kornacki, is a touching story that teaches about giving at Christmas time. As Sam, the main character, thinks about his Christmas list, holiday parties, and more, there is a mysterious box that sits atop the mantel by the fireplace. Throughout the Christmas season, Sam’s mom explains that they have to add to the Sparkle Box for it to be ready at Christmas. Wen Sam finally opens it on Christmas morning, instead of a gift he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. His parents explain that the things that they’ve done throughout the season, like give blankets to the poor and donating to a water well project in Africa, were in fact gifts for Jesus.
I won’t lie, I cry every time I read this story to my kids. I cry because the story embodies the lessons my Mom taught me about giving, and because they are precisely the lessons I want my children to learn. We volunteer at a food pantry for that very reason.
The first time I folded together the included Sparkle Box to put on our mantel, Sister clapped excitedly and squealed, “We get to give gifts to Jesus!!” Indeed, we do. And now every year, The Sparkle Box book is placed on our fireplace mantel the day after Thanksgiving along with the silver Sparkle Box. And every year, we fill the box with slips of paper. Each year we read The Sparkle Box together, and marvel together at what it means to give gifts to Jesus.
Learn more by following Ideals Publications on Facebook.
The Sparkle Box is available on Amazon and wherever Christian books are sold.
We've given several copies of this book away as gifts, as well, because we believe that family traditions are important!
***Post updated. Original review posted 11/12/12***