8 Festive Book Recommendations to Read with the Children this Christmas

Our favourite Christmas story books for children

There are so many things to love about Christmas with the kids, but one of the best things is snuggling up together with a Christmas story! There is a tradition in Iceland called Jolabokaflod which involves people giving a gift of a book to a loved on Christmas Eve and then snuggling down with Hot Chocolate and reading their book straightaway. We think this is such a lovely tradition and one that should be adopted all over the world. And what is better than snuggling down with your little ones and reading  Children’s Christmas book?!

So here is our round-up of favourite Children’s Christmas books, whether you start them on the 1st December (we have already started ours though as we have so many to get through!) or read them on Christmas Eve, we hope you make time for reading together this Christmas. Such precious and short lived moments are to treasure…..

1/ Santa Claus; the Book of Secrets – Russel Ince

Age 5+

This is our favourite and one the we get out every year (hence the worn look of it!)

Santa Claus the Secrets answers everyone’s questions about how the magic world of Santa works; from the Elves and where they live, to how Santa delivers all the toys in one night, how he works with special helpers around the world to succeed in his gift of joy and what happens throughout the year in the North Pole plus so much more.

A beautifully written, collection of chapters, each one covering a different aspect of the magical world. We do one chapter a night in the nights leading up to Christmas. They are only short too so a great, magical insight which can be dipped in and out or devoured in one go! You children will never be able to question the logistics again!

santa claus book of secrets

2/ The Night Before Christmas – Richard Scarry (and various others!)

Age 2+

the night before christmas richard scarry

A staple in our household read for us on Christmas Eve just before the kids go to bed. We do the reindeer dust, put out the treats for Santa and cuddle up to read The Night Before Christmas. There are lots of versions of course and all are lovely. This is one of our copies.

But our kids just love Richard Scarry. If you haven’t read any of his books before you really should. They are the kind of books that every time you read them you see something different! The children love them as there is so much to look at ad point out. The characters are a bit random and have funny names and we love that! And this version of The Night Before Christmas is just a bit different and more fun that a lot of the traditional ones. And who doesn’t like maximum fun at Christmas?!

richard scarry the night before christmas

3/ Sprout’s Elf Adventure Challenge – Helen Nurse

Age 2+

childrens christmas book

This was written to accompany the event ‘The Elf Adventure Challenge’ and is the story of Sprout the Elf and how she does her Elf training and the important lessons that she learns about the true spirit of Christmas along the way. Beautifully illustrated, a lovely picture book for 3- 8 year olds to read with their parents.

4/ Father Christmas and Me – Matt Haig

Age 7+

father Christmas and me Matt Haig

This is part of a series of 3 books, including ‘A boy Call Christmas’ and ‘The Girl who Saved Christmas’. All 3 are amazing stories and they do link together with this ‘Father Christmas and Me’ being the final one of the three and for us it’s our favourite. In the first book we see how father Christmas became Father Christmas. In the second one we meet Mary (to become Mrs Christmas) and Amelia the human girl who ends up going to live in Elfhelm with father Christmas. The third book is about her first Christmas in Elfhelm and being accepted by the Elves. It has its dark moments and is probably recommended for age 7+due to this. For ages 7-10 I would read it with them (and even after that I would anyway as I love it so much!)It is not only an amazing story set in a magical world, and therefore keeping the spirit and magic of Christmas alive for children for longer. It  also has some brilliant core messages and thought provoking ideas to discuss with the kids.

5/ Little Owl and the Star – Mary Murphy

Age 2+

little owl and the star by mary murphy

A board book or younger children, a really nice take on the Christmas story, quality illustrations and small enough to pop in your handbag as a boredom busting story when you are out and about this December!

6/ The Snowman – Raymond Briggs

Age 2+

the snowman by raymond briggs

One of the most famous festive stories of the last 30 years! Of course it started out as a animation and the story has come from there. We love to listen to the audio version with the music accompanying it (the one read by James Nesbitt is the best in my opinion!)

But we also love to read the book and my 2 year old loves to look at the pictures as the illustrations are so beautiful considering their origination.

7/ Mog’s Christmas – Judith Kerr

Age 2+

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We love Mog! Maybe because we are a cat family! And this is another good one for the littlies! Mog is not happy about the Christmas upheaval in the house! Will she ever come down from the snowy roof?!

8/ A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Age 7+

A christmas carol by charles dickens

Not a traditional Children’s story, there are Children’s versions of the story and I think it is such an important story for children to know, that introducing a version of it when they are young is good to do. I am also a big fan of reading a book before seeing the film and since there are various children’s film versions of the tale now, reading it first gives more magic to the tale. When I was a child my uncle recorded an audio tape of the story and I listened to it constantly at Christmas time. There is a great sense of nostalgia for me around the story as a result and I think it’s great to create those future moments for our children too.

So that’s’ our top 8 – but there are so many more amazing Christmas stories! Please let us know your favourites and share your Christmas reads with us.

See also ‘Why we start the Christmas Magic in November’

and ‘Elves Best toy picks for Christmas 2018’

To book tickets for The Elf Adventure Challenge CLICK HERE

Snow Fun….

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You won’t be surprised to learn that Elves LOVE snow! It’s their usual environment in the North Pole so when they are able to have snow fun on there travels around their world they are super happy!

Check out their snow fun from the various venues with snow from this weekend!

But as much as real Elves love snow they understand that us Honorary Elves do get a bit cold! So when you visit the Elf Adventure Challenge you can learn your Elf skills and complete your games and challenges in the warm and dry!

We have some limited time-slots available still so if you and your family want to train to be honorary Elves check out availability and BOOK NOW HERE 

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Secrets shared about your Letters to Santa….

Pumpaa and sprout grab.tiff

The first real wave of Santa letters are being received this week so I am so excited I could burst my Elf pants!!

Of course we have been receiving some letters for months from some super duper keen Elflet children and now the main lot have started rushing through.

So in case you are still chewing on your pencil and wondering what to write I thought I’d let you in on a few secrets of how the whole letter thing works…and also what we Elves like in a letter, not to mention Santa himself!!

So first of all, how do your letters get to us? Well do you know you can post them in the post box, leave them on your mantel piece or post them in one of the special Santa letter boxes that are in many places; rest assured the Elves receive your letters and read every one!

This is because there is a special wind that floats all around us, all over the world. You can’t see it; it’s magic and it’s the same magic wind that allows Santa to know things about you that you might not have told him. Just like you cannot see oxygen, but you know it is there because it means you can breathe, this magic Northern wind is all around us, all year round. And it also recognises any letter addressed to Santa Claus and brings it to us at the North Pole. So it doesn’t matter where you leave your letter, you can leave it indoors, outdoors or even pop it in the postbox, as long as it is addressed to Santa it will find its way to us at the North Pole.

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So more importantly what do we Elves like in a letter? Well there are three things that we really love –

1/ Good manners – Santa loves it when children ask how he is, thank him for his time and use your best manners – he is very traditional and believes that good manners are very important, so the more polite you are to him (remember your please’s and thank you’s!) the happier he is!

2/ Gratitude – being grateful for last year’s gifts and for all the good things that have happened this year. We Elves work very, very hard and to have our hard work acknowledge by you children makes us jump for joy and feel full of goodness!!

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3/ Colour, pictures, care and attention with your letters- Christmas is about cheerful colour so we love to see lots of colourful pictures in your letters and all the hard word you have given to creating a beautiful letter for us. It makes us soooooooo happy!!! So get creative, draw us some pictures and get your coloured pens out (Sprout especially is a sucker for sparkles!!)

 

 

So if you haven’t written your letter to Santa, get cracking. And my final tip to you festive Elflets is that it is best to limit your letter to a few things that you really want. As Santa usually gives a few extra bonus bits too that he thinks you will like too. So just let him know what you really, really would like above all things.

Looking forward to receiving your fabulous letters. And if you want you can even bring them along to The Elf Adventure Challenge and post them in our special postbox. Our Elf challenge masters love to see your letters as they are not working in the North Pole this year. So bring them along, show them and post them in our post box for Santa!

See you soon Elflets…

Pumpaa Elf

 

What Elves do at Halloween?

Well of course we have a party! Elves don’t need to be encouraged to have a good time! One of the reason we Elves love Halloween is because we get to be really creative and that’s what Elves love best! Making costumes, making fun food and having a good time!

Santa loves to carve pumpkins do you know? Well of course he would as he is the world’s oldest and best toy maker! Look at this amazing carved pumpkin…..

Halloween brings out our creativity and we always have the day off, dedicating time to making fantastic costumes, food and frolics!

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And tomorrow the hard work really starts so Halloween is a good opportunity to have a day off and some fun before Seasons Greetings! Look at our fabulous Halloween tree decoration……..

The highlight of the Halloween Party is my brother Kasper Elf who is even older than I am and has so many stories and tales to tell and his ghost stories are infamous!  So we are excited to hear what ghost story he will tell us tonight. Last year he told us this scary Halloween story about three cats – prepared to be spooked….and to chuckle a bit, I like this one because its funny too and us Elves don’t like to be serious!

Kasper Elves Spooky Ghost Story for the Elves:

An old man was out for a walk. When a storm came up, he looked for a place to take shelter. Soon he came to an old house. He ran up on the porch and knocked on the door, but nobody answered. By now rain was pouring down, thunder was booming, and lighting was flashing. So he tried the door. When He found it was unlocked, he went inside.
 Except for a pile of wooden boxes, the house was empty. He broke up some of the boxes and made fire with them. Then he sat down if front of the fire and dried himself. It was warm and cozy that he fell asleep.
When he woke up a black cat was sitting near the fire. It stared at him for a while. Then it purred. “That’s a nice cat,” he thought, and he dozed off again. When he opened his eyes, there was a second cat in the room. But this one was as big as a wolf. It looked at him vary closely, and it asked, “Shall we do it now?” “No,” said the other cat. “Let’s wait till Martin comes.” I must be dreaming,” thought the old man. He closed his eyes again. Then he took another look. But now there was a third cat in the room, and this one was as big as a tiger. It looked the old man over, and it asked, “Shall we do it now?” “No,” said the others. “Let’s wait till Martin comes.”
 The old man jumped up, jumped out the window and started running. “when Martin comes, tell him I couldn’t wait,” he called.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team building with Santa…..

We’ve had a very exciting time this week at The North Pole because Santa himself led his annual team building session with all the Elves! Aside from the month of Seasons Greetings in December, Santa’s team building session is one of our Elves favourite things to do in the year!

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Because all Elves have to do their Elf Adventure Challenge test before they can go from Elflets to fully fledged Elves, these team building sessions remind them of their Adventure Challenge activities which are always such fun, for Elflets and Elves of all ages!!

The activities that Elflets do in their Elf Adventure Challenge training are created and developed by Santa himself!

Santa loves team building with the Elves as working together as a happy, helpful and considerate team is essential to living and working in The Elf Village!

We do reindeer races, snowball relays, snowman building, cookie decorating and at the end of the day we have our favourite hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies!

You can read more about the Elflets and how they take their own Elf Adventure Challenge in order to become fully fledged Elves in my new book about Sprout Elf’s Adventure Challenge.

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It will be available to buy next month so look out for it! And if you want to come along and join in the Challenges for yourself come to The Elf Adventure Challenge with your family this Christmas. If you complete the challenges and earn yourself title of honorary Elf then Santa may even call on you for help in the future…….

 

 

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Meet Sprout the Elf………..

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Yeeehah Elfets – I’m jumping for joy to be back at The Ice Cream Farm (as you know Elves do so LOVE ice Cream and Cheshire Ice Cream Farm have my favourite flavour;  chocolate ripple cookie dough!)

And the other exciting news is that I have a newly qualified Elf trainer, Sprout Elf who has helped me to bring the Elf Adventure Challenge Christmas fun and games to you all this year.

Pumpaa and Sprout christmas elf event

And we have a whole team of other amazing Elves working with us this year too to enable us to provide family Christmas fun for you in some different locations, making it easier for you to come and take part in your own Elf Adventure Challenge, become qualified as an honorary Elf and learn about what it means to be a real Christmas Elf!

To see the story of how Sprout the Elf came to join me on the Elf Adventure Challenge and went from Elfet to fully fledged Elf, with a few lessons on Christmas spirit along the way, see my Christmas storybook. I am very excited to be able to give all the children who come to the Elf Adventure Challenge a copy of my special Christmas storybook so they can carry on their Elf fun at home!

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My book will be available for those who cannot visit the Elf Adventure Challenge, so feel free to share it with anyone who you think would love a new Christmas story to read with their children this year!

And so remember to sign up for updates, like our social media pages and check back in and you will find out more about the book as it is released. I’ll also be giving you some insights into life as an Elf at The North Pole during the next few months leading up to Christmas. Ooh I love this time of year; the anticipation, the excitement and the joy. Come and share it with us…….

What the Elves did over the summer…

One of the questions we get asked lots is “what do we do when it’s not Christmas”?……..

Other than enjoy lots and lots of ice cream? (Elves LOVE ice cream, especially the special Ice cream from Cheshire Farm Ice Cream Farm) One of the questions we get asked lots is “what do we do when it’s not Christmas”?……

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Everyone expects that we only work at Christmas time, which is of course not true. During the rest of the year we have important jobs to do such as maintenance work on our machines and making sure everything is in tip top condition ready for the busy festive period. We also come up with new designs for toys to make and we test out new toys.

One of the really exciting things that Santa does for us every summer is run a design contest, where any Elf from any department can submit a design for a new toy. All designs are judged by Santa himself. The top 5 are then created and tested and a winner is awarded. The winning entry goes into production for that Christmas and the Elf who designed that toy gets to put the final present into the sleigh on Christmas Eve, so it really is an honour and one attracts a lot of entries from eager Elves! I myself have won the contest 5 times!

This year my good friend Hálben won but you’ll have to wait to see what his winning design was; it will be announced in a few weeks!

RECOMMENDED TOYS FORstocking and toys.png 2017 

Did you know that Santa’s Elves have special relationships with toy manufacturers around the world, so that they can make toys on their behalf? And the Elves love making up new toy designs! We always have our own little competition at The North Pole for what we tink will be the children’s most popular requests and favourite toys! So you get a sneak peak into our predictions for the favourite toys this year:

Fisher-Price Teach n Tag Movi

This is an interactive learning robot for preschoolers that spins 360 degrees and can make over 60 different facial expressions. Movi has been designed to combine critical thinking skills with active play. He has 3 game modes and 6 games to choose from: The Elves favourite at the moment is ‘Red Light, Green Light’ – fun!

Fisher-Price Teach n Tag Movi

VTech Kidizoom Flix playset

Flix has facial recognition, so will know your child when she talks to him, which the Elves love to test out as you can imagine! He’ll also repeat words and phrases back to you and you can change his eyes and skin colour. Another great feature is he takes secret photos and videos. You can take him anywhere as he detaches from his tripod.

VTech Kidizoom Flix playset

Beauty and the Beast tea set

All the Elves will want to be your guest with this gorgeous tea set, featuring a talking Mrs Potts, 4 cups and saucers and tray. It looks so jolly and everyone knows how much us Elves love hot chocolate and cookies, this would be a perfect set to serve us from!

Beauty and the Beast tea set

Pie Face Sky High Game

The Elves love the Pie Face game and now there is a new way to play; a freestanding ‘fairground’ style version where you hit the hammer and see how far up you can get the pie to splat your opponent. Of course anything with this level of mess and fun the Elves (and children!) love! So this one is definitely a winner for this year!

Pie Face Sky High Game

Game of Life

There has also been a recent resurgence of the popular board game ‘Game of Life’ I remember first making this 57 years ago! It has changed a lot since then of course to fit with modern life. But I still love to play it as much now as I did then! Mainly because I can pretend to be a human which is such fun! As we don’t have things like cars and life insurance in the North Pole!

So welcome in Autumn, go and collect some conkers, enjoy the season changes in your wonderful world and next week I might tell you about our Elf Olympics which we held this year……

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