There’s a Mouse in Our House and He Brings Us *gasp* Books!

I grew up with a mouse in our house.  The Christmas Mouse.

See, the Christmas Mouse knows the frustration of parents with children underfoot on Christmas Eve.  They are really excited at the thought of what Christmas morning will bring, but as far as Christmas Eve goes, children need something to keep them occupied.  The Christmas Mouse also knows how important reading is (and watching movies as a family).  So he’s come up with the perfect solution.  When he knows the children aren’t watching he puts his plan into action.  The children soon notice that he’s going missing and they happily set out to find him.  He can always be found sitting atop a large wrapped package that he’s sneaked into the house.

Inside that package is a wonderful surprise.  Books!  Movies!  Games!  Something to add to the family library and a book that suits each family members interests.  Now the family is happy and content on Christmas Eve as they snuggle into the couch with a good book.

Do you have a mouse in your house?  Hmm . . . maybe you should!

Sigh . . .  what a difference a year makes.  They’ve gotten so much bigger since last Christmas.  Seriously, this is one of my most favorite and memorable Christmas traditions that I grew up with and I have continued in my own home.  My parents instilled a love of reading in me through this tradition.  They knew that books would be tossed aside if given to us on Christmas day, so they decided to gift them on Christmas Eve.  How it became to be that the mouse delivered the package, I’m not sure.  But when I got married, I found the exact same mouse I grew up with on Ebay.  Two years ago, the mouse even delivered the news to my in-laws that I was expecting our second child.  He’s very much loved in our family (the mouse – but we do love the baby too!).  I love, love this literary Christmas tradition.

Would you like the Christmas Mouse to visit your home this year?  If so, just share with me any ideas that you may have for other Christmas traditions involving books.  Not necessarily gifting them, but anything!  The Christmas Mouse will virtually visit your home in the form of a $10 Amazon gift certificate.  I’ll announce the winner this Wednesday the 17th.  Short and sweet!

Today is the 15th day of the Blog Advent tour, also posting today are Somewhere in Between and Wendy from Caribou’s Mom.  And make sure to check out all the other stops on the tour, there are some great posts about Christmas traditions from around the world.

53 comments


  1. Natasha, this is such a fantastic idea! You are right about the books being put to the side on Christmas day. In our house, we usually go to a family party on Christmas Eve, and when we get home, we find that Mrs. Claus has left a single package for each of the kids containing new pajamas. Maybe this year she’ll include a book with the PJs, too.

    Our holiday book traditions include a reading of The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, and we have a lot of Christmas themed books that come out with the rest of the decorations each year. And at our Christmas Eve family party, my husband’s aunt reads aloud to the kids from the book “Auntie Claus”. My kids enjoy it, the rest of the kids in the family think it’s corny …

    on December 15th, 2008 at 4:41 am
  2. I love this idea! How very cute. I don’t have any book traditions nearly as great as this one, but I do wrap up a big bag of books each year for each of my children. I give it to them on Christmas Eve!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 5:18 am
  3. What an awesome tradition! I haven’t heard of anything like this before, although I have heard of families opening one gift on christmas eve (we do the same). I think I’ll have to remember this one in the future! Your boys look like the absolutely love it!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 5:19 am
  4. What a fun idea! A few years ago I took the christmas books off the bookshelf and packed them away with the holiday decorations. Now, when we unpack all of our decorations, we take the books and put them in a basket under the tree. After a year of not reading them, it’s almost like getting new books!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 5:32 am
  5. Normally, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas my husband and I take our children to visit their grandparents. They live about two states away and it is about a 12 hour drive. One thing that we do to entertain our 4 children is check out books on CD’s and listen to them as we drive. The last few years we have picked out books that are coming out in the theater. We listen to the book and then usually the week before Christmas go and see the movie in the theater. I think it helps literature to come alive in their lives. Many of our Christmas discussions will end up being about the differences between the book and the movie. Oh, we also try to pick books that are books in a series. Usually one of the kids will ask for the rest of the books for Christmas.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 6:26 am
  6. What a fantastic idea! I love it!

    My mom compiled a book of 24 Christmas stories and we would read one every night all through December. I can’t wait to do the same with my kids.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 7:33 am
  7. This is an absolute precious tradition, and your kids are precious too! We do allow one present (of the parent’s choice) to be opened on Xmas. The gift usually is something that will keep them occupied. I sure wish I would have heard of this when they were smaller! They are at the age now that if I introduced the mouse into the mix, they would look at me like I had two heads. They grow up too fast!

    By the way, I made the Whoopie Pies and they were a huge hit. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 8:00 am
  8. We don’t have a christmas mouse. But, we LOVE books. I’d read in a parenting magazine of someone who wraps books, 1 for each day on the way to christmas. I read about it too late the first year. Then, the second year my girl wanted her christmas books….didn’t want to wait. So, our “tradition” is getting the christmas box of books down and I buy a couple new ones each year, which like you, I give before christmas. But I don’t even wait for christmas eve.

    A different tradition….instead of doing toy or clothing gifts with our good friends is we buy a special christmas book for each other’s family. I can’t wait to give them the book I picked up this year! It’s a pop-up Nutcracker Book. My daughter got one too and she LOVES it.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 8:05 am
  9. When I was growing up, our Christmas tradition with books was fairly simple. My mother kept all the Christmas-themed books tucked away in the closet, and brought them out only the week before Christmas. We hadn’t seen them all year, so it was really exciting to read them again, and reminisce. I still remember what was in that special box: The Polar Express, the Velveteen Rabbit, The Cat Who Came for Christmas, Take Joy, etc.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 8:24 am
  10. Just love your Christmas Mouse! And that you were able to find an exact copy on Ebay for your own home. My family is so freakish we were given books on Christmas Day under the tree with all the other presents, and after the hubbub died down, everyone except Mom (who was getting dinner ready) retreated to a quiet spot with their new stash of books.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 9:36 am
  11. I love that idea! We don’t have any Christmas traditions involving books, except that we give them and get them and they do not get set aside! This is a reading family. :)

    on December 15th, 2008 at 9:53 am
  12. Oh, I LOVE this idea. Perhaps I’ll have to start it next year, even though a 6 month old isn’t going to have much of an idea of what is going on.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 9:53 am
  13. This is a great idea! I am the reader in my family, but no one else is. I suppose the only really book tradition in my family is that since I have been old enough to have my own money I have bought my grandmother two books at Christmas time. The first year she cried! She doesn’t like spending money on books for herself, so I always get her new hardcover books. This year my mother joined in and got her some too, so she has lots of great reading ahead of her!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 10:00 am
  14. That’s a stellar tradition! We so need to start that!
    We have a book with stories or poems for each day leading up to Christmas, but bedtime is usually so crazy that I haven’t gotten it out this year! Shame on me!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 10:03 am
  15. I love that idea! As we were growing up, we always got a book in our stocking (and still do). Christmas was always too busy, but it was know that is would be used and appreciated. Boxing day was alway quiet day. we would stay in our robes and jammies, sometimes all day, and eat leftovers and do puzzles and play games. As neither of those are my favorite things, it was always book day for me. And now that I’m married, I get books from my MIL too. almost makes boxing day better then christmas ;)

    on December 15th, 2008 at 10:22 am
  16. Dewey the Book Elf visits our house along with Santa. He leaves the books tied up with a ribbon right in front of the tree. Since they are not wrapped the kids tend to go right for them and look at them for awhile before they remember the other presents.
    We also do Twelve Books of Christmas. The kids unwrap a book (not necessarily new, some even from the library) that is Christmas themed every night before bed.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 10:57 am
  17. Ann – I’ve never read Auntie Claus but I have it checked out from the library right now. The kids have looked at it though!

    Julie P. – Well, that tradition sounds very much like this one! The only difference is that a mouse gives us our books! It made it fun.

    Trish – Yeah, we don’t open a gift on Christmas Eve because of this tradition. I haven’t heard of anybody else doing it but my brothers and sisters. My mom made it up because we were all so anxious on Christmas Eve and it was a way to give us something to do.

    Stephanie – We just packed away our books last Christmas. I’ve got at least 20 Christmas books checked out from the library and they are all in a stack under the tree. I mentioned to my husband that I’d like to get a cute basket to put them in. Looks like great minds think alike!

    Krissi – That is a fantastic idea! My husband’s family ALWAYS goes to a movie on Christmas day. It was a tradition so completely foreign to me when I married him that it took awhile to get used to it. But now with our kids so young, you can’t exactly get a babysitter on Christmas day, so somebody has to stay home. It’s no fun to bring them.

    Janssen – That’s great! We’ve been reading Christmas picture books every night. My oldest is learning about baby Jesus, Santa, and Reindeer for the first time. It is too adorable.

    Sandy – Awesome! I’m so glad you made the Whoopie Pies! Yummy!!

    Janelle – That’s a great tradition! I realize this year that my Christmas book collection is pretty embarrassing. I need to start buying Christmas picture books for the Christmas Mouse.

    Jeane – I’m starting to pack up the Christmas books too. Seeing things once a year does make it more special.

    Julia – I have to admit that we played with the toys first! Maybe in the evening after everything settled down we’d read a book.

    Karina – My mom gave us the books on Christmas Eve because she was so tired of us being restless. She could go tell us to read our book!

    Jen – No, but the Christmas Mouse gives something to EVERYBODY in the family, not just the kids. So it’s the perfect excuse to give one more book to yourself for Christmas!

    Kailana – Books as gifts are always a great idea. I’m sure your Grandmother looks forward to it each year!

    Britt – We’ve been reading Christmas books at night but no special ones in particular. Just ones I’ve picked up from the library.

    Lissa – We always got a orange and yogurt in our stocking! Weird, huh? But my mom doesn’t do breakfast on Christmas morning, so she would just give us our breakfast in our stocking. My husband thinks that’s weird.

    Jeanette – Dewey the Book Elf – how fun!! Santa doesn’t wrap his presents at our house. It’s always a treat for the eyes, where do you look first! I’ve heard of the 12 day of Christmas for book gifting. I’d love to start doing that!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 11:05 am
  18. Our Christmas tradition is pretty, well, traditional! We read the Christmas story from the Bible (from Luke) to our kids before they can open any presents. That way the true meaning of Christmas is reinforced before the wrapping paper starts to fly.

    I would love to start a tradition of giving books to our kids though. I will have to give it some thought as to the specifics.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 11:39 am
  19. What a fantastic Christmas tradition.

    We’ve never really had any book traditions, but since I’m the bookaholic, Christmas afternoon was usually spent starting reading whatever I had been given.

    We did do the “one present” thing, but with us it was after coming home from Midnight Mass, so technically it was Christmas Day. We each got to choose one present to open, then we all retired to bed for the rest of the night.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 11:42 am
  20. What a lovely tradition! I was going to buy books this year, but I think that I am only going to be getting them for a couple of family members!

    Louise (http://louspages.blogspot.com) wanted to drop by and say hi for your post too, but she was having trouble leaving a comment!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 12:16 pm
  21. Whoops! Meant to say thanks so much for participating!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 12:17 pm
  22. Christmas traditions with books. You know how some people go through last-minute frantic shopping? I’ve always done last-minute frantic reading. I love snuggling in with a pile of books a day or two before Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve always sees a book or two being read. Of course, sometimes the book is holiday-themed, sometimes it isn’t. I remember reading Pride and Prejudice–my very first Austen book–on Christmas Eve. It was *magical* because I got the mini-series (Colin Firth) for Christmas that year.

    I do like to give books as presents. Some of my favorite gifts have been books. Though they’re not fun for others to watch you open. I also love gift certificates. I remember back in the good-old-days–you know the 1980s–getting $5 gift certificates to the bookstore. It would buy two books and a bookmark if you were lucky. Paperback books new at $1.95, those were the days. :) )

    on December 15th, 2008 at 12:38 pm
  23. What a great tradition! When I was little, my parents and I used to read “The Night Before Christmas” every Christmas Eve. My mother still owns the copy her grandfather gave her when she was little, so she’d haul it out and we’d all read from it. We also had another book called “Siegfried’s Silent Night” that saw a lot of use leading up to Christmas day.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 1:13 pm
  24. I know some people that buy a Christmas book every year. Then they pull them all out every Christmas season and read them.

    I like to get books as presents. My mom gave all the grandkids a book and P.J.’s one year.

    My husband’s family reads The Night Before Christmas every Christmas eve.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 1:21 pm
  25. Oh wow! What a great tradition. I don’t have any young ones but I would have loved something like this. On Christmas Eve I don’t know how my parents kept their sanity. Not one gift was ever opened before the day. It took me years as an adult to allow that one to slide because we now have ‘friends’ Christmas where we can watch our Godkids open their gifts.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 1:45 pm
  26. That is an awesome idea and one I intend to implement next year! My kids are getting a lot of books this year but they already love books. I think books tucked in the christmas tree to discover would be fun. Also we always sat together in our PJS to read Twas the Night Before Christmas together as a family. I know that’s a common tradition but it was meaningful and I do it with my kids. I think taking them to the store to pick out a book would be good too.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 2:44 pm
  27. Alyce – My family also reads the Christmas story from Luke on Christmas Eve. It’s usually not as chaotic. Santa doesn’t wrap presents at our house so doing it beforehand wouldn’t work. Growing up my mom insisted that everybody be showered, dressed, makeup and hair done. It was pure torture. But we were perhaps the best looking family in Christmas morning photos!

    Kerry D. – Half of the fun for us was discovering that the mouse had gone missing. He’d end up in very odd places. I really thought he came alive.

    Marg – Oh no about Louise. I checked Spam, there was nothing there. Do you know what kind of trouble? And thank you for organizing this whole tour!

    Becky -Gift certificates seem to be the way to go lately. There’s nothing like curling up in front of the Christmas tree.

    Memory – You know, I don’t think I’ve ever read the official Night Before Christmas. I can vaguely picture some illustrations from one book in particular. But I don’t know which one it was.

    amy BTW M – The Christmas Mouse gives us a perfect excuse to buy books for everybody each Christmas. Love it.

    CindyS – It never occurred to us that other people opened a gift on Christmas Eve from under the tree. We were always so wrapped up on when the Christmas Mouse was going to make his appearance.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 2:46 pm
  28. Natasha, what an awesome tradition!

    My mother always gave me a book on Christmas Eve, so I would stay out of her hair while she wrapped my gifts! An excellent strategy that always worked. She still gives me a book on Christmas Eve, even though I’m now in my 20′s.

    We read the Christmas story from Luke and parts of A Christmas Carol each year.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 4:28 pm
  29. What a great tradition! I’m going to have to remember this!

    Growing up, our family used to read a kids christmas book together, alternating chapters so we each got to read. I have some great memories from reading The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever!

    :) Wendi

    on December 15th, 2008 at 4:49 pm
  30. What a great tradition! Every year around the holidays I read my copy of “The Nutcracker” to Peanut. It’s a special story and it only comes out at this time of year. Last year she even went to see the Nutcracker live!
    I try to do themed books with her all year round so we’re also reading other books about winter, snow, building snowmen etc…

    on December 15th, 2008 at 5:34 pm
  31. What a wonderful tradition! Gives me some great ideas for new traditions of my own!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 6:18 pm
  32. What a fun idea! I am TOTALLY doing that for my family when I have kids.

    Our book-related tradition is to read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. My grandma reads it to my cousins, brothers, sister and I (7 of us total) and we would each bring a small wrapped present (usually candy or something). Every time there was a body part in the story (practically every sentence) we had to pass our gift clockwise… when the book was over, you got to keep whatever gift you ended up with!

    Not too literary, but it was always fun, and we still do it, even though we now range in age from 25 (that’s me, the oldest) to 18 (my youngest brother). It’s also something we’ll do with our kids when the next generation comes along!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 6:40 pm
  33. This is indeed very cute! :)

    We used to read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever aloud together every Christmas season. Um, that’s all I’ve got!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 8:07 pm
  34. Hmmm, this reminds me that I don’t know where our Christmas books are. We always get a ton of Christmas books from the library and read them throughout the season. Some years I put holds on them at the library way ahead of time; this year we just pulled some off the shelves, but we got some good ones.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 9:06 pm
  35. What a wonderful tradition! Growing up there were some specific Christmas books that we had only around Christmas time. One I remember the most called Davey’s and the First Christmas. Also someone in the family wrote down Christmas Stories from my grandparents when they were young and one of my uncles illustrated them. I loved learning about them when they were young and what Christmas was like for them.

    With my own family, I make sure each person gets a book for Christmas usually wrapped, but this year my oldest got Rapunzel’s Revenge and an opportunity came up to meet the authors and illustrator in person so she got it a little early, but I think it was worth it.

    on December 15th, 2008 at 9:23 pm
  36. Sounds like a cute idea… much better than that creepy elf thing they’re selling this year!

    I’ve decided this year after reading The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens for the first time that I will watch one of the movie adaptations once a year until I watch them all (there’s a whole seperate page of them on Wikipedia lol).

    on December 15th, 2008 at 9:55 pm
  37. Besides reading the Luke Bible story on Christmas Eve, we’ve also read, all at different times and stages, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, Twas the Night Before Christmas and another one I can’t remember the name of but it compares Santa and Jesus… very interesting.

    And hey Natasha, we have to get ready for the day before opening presents too! I thought we were the only ones that did that!

    on December 15th, 2008 at 10:39 pm
  38. I LOVE your mouse tradition. My girls and I LOVE books. Mostly they’ve had no choice but to love them because in our house we are surrounded by books. I have a whole room with shelves of my books and they each have an overflowing shelf in their room and we have one in our play room. They receive tons of books as gifts for their birthdays and Christmas. My daughter even asked Santa for a book last year for Christmas! I LOVED that. My mom has started a tradition of either making or getting them pajamas for Christmas and this year they match books she’s also giving them (ie: cupcakes on the nightgown and the book If you give a Cat a Cupcake). And while my girls certainly get toys as well, it’s the books they keep coming back to when all the toys are tossed aside, lost, or broken.

    on December 16th, 2008 at 6:51 am
  39. I actually thought of a kind of book tradition that we have for Christmas. My grandmother collected all of these christmas stories and poems and put them together in an album (so it is a big giant story book). She cut up her christmas cards from over the years to decorate–really a lovely book–all the “married” grandkids have our own. Every year we get together and read the stories out of the book. By now we have our favorites–some that we laugh at, some that make us cry every year. If you could include some shorter stories for the kids, I think they would really grow to love the tradition as well.

    on December 16th, 2008 at 7:28 am
  40. This is such a wonderful tradition. I love the idea. Since we decorated our Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve, there was a lot going on and books would have gotten lost in the mix. But we always got a book (paperback or comic book) in our stockings, hoping to keep us quiet for a little while longer on Christmas morning. Our stockings were on our door knobs so we could open that stuff without waking our parents.

    on December 16th, 2008 at 8:57 am
  41. Natasha, Louise says that she can get into your page, but then it closes itself down after about 10-15 seconds.

    on December 16th, 2008 at 12:18 pm
  42. Natasha, I love the tradition and the pics! One tradition at our house when we were little is that we always had to wait on my grandparents to arrive before we could open any presents. Presents from Santa were never wrapped, so mom and dad let us look at those and open our stocking before they arrived. The only catch was, we had to put everything back just like we found it so that our g-parents to could what Santa had done. It is a great tradition and one that I hope to continue if I have kids.

    on December 16th, 2008 at 1:42 pm
  43. What a fun idea. We do story night every year: we make decadent hot cocoa and then each choose a Christmas story to read. The girls look forward to it, and love to read aloud (or tell) their favorite story. We get a different line-up each year, too. :)

    on December 16th, 2008 at 1:46 pm
  44. This is so becoming a tradition for us!

    on December 16th, 2008 at 2:37 pm
  45. Ruth – That’s exactly why she (AKA the Christmas Mouse) gave us books, movies and games too. She wanted us out of her hair.

    Wendi – I’ve never read that one. I’ll have to keep it in mind for next year (too late for this Christmas).

    Michelle – I remember going to the Nutcracker when I was younger. The last time I went was when I was in college. Everybody has to go at least a couple of times.

    Ashley – You’re welcome!

    Heather – That’s really cool! My family is always thinking of new ways to pass out “secret santa” gifts. That could work.

    Amy – Wendi mentioned that one as well. I’ll have to look into it.

    Ali – I have about 15 Christmas books checked out right now with a few more ready to be picked up.

    Cari – That’s cool that your uncle illustrated it as well. I’m sure it will become a family favorite to be treasured.

    Ladytink_534 – We have The Christmas Carol on CD as read by Jim Dale. I can’t wait to listen to it.

    Suey – Christmas Eve is just as important as Christmas day in our house.

    Holly – That is SO cute. I’ve never done pajamas but I might have to start doing that (pairing with a book).

    Trish – That’s really great! I’m sure you’ll treasure those forever.

    MaryBeth – What a great way to let the parents sleep in a little longer. I like that idea.

    Marg – I’ll have to contact her and get more details. That’s just weird.

    Shelly – That’s so funny you had to put them back! I had to convince my husband that Santa didn’t wrap gifts at our house. I love the visual feast of it when you walk into the room. It’s like where do you look first?!

    Melissa – Mmmm . . . with the hot chocolate. Yum!

    Mrs. B. Roth – I think it’s always fun to find new traditions. I’m glad you like this one!

    on December 16th, 2008 at 9:02 pm
  46. We don’t read a lot of Christmas books at Christmas because we leave them out year round. The Pirate loves the I Spy Christmas one the best, I think.

    on December 16th, 2008 at 9:18 pm
  47. My mom made a tradition of giving me an antique/collectible book every year. I have a really cool Little Women with colored plates (illustrations) & an old Cambridge volume of Tennyson. Last year, I got a copy of Hamlet that she found–complete with library stamps from where I went to school (but from long before). They’re not worth C-notes or anything, but I like them. Especially when there are little notes inside (which diminishes the monetary value of the book, but things like, “Bequeathed to my beloved niece Louise” and stuff makes it seem more personal).

    on December 17th, 2008 at 12:22 am
  48. I love your little mouse! My mom always kept the Christmas books hidden away during the year. Starting December 1, she pulled them out and we read one a night. We always read The Polar Express on Christmas Eve because that was her favorite.

    We also always watched the Luke 2 video the LDS church put out.

    on December 17th, 2008 at 10:51 am
  49. That’s what I listened to. It’s really great!

    on December 18th, 2008 at 1:33 am
  50. What a sweet tradition. Thanks for sharing. Sorry a little late on the Advent Tour. I am trying to catch up.

    Happy Holidays!

    on December 18th, 2008 at 3:25 pm
  51. I love the idea of the Christmas mouse Natasha

    on December 19th, 2008 at 11:23 pm
  52. I love the idea of the Christmas mouse! Makes me smile!

    on December 21st, 2008 at 8:38 am
  53. Lisa – We have two copies of I Spy Christmas and I have to admit that they are shredded from the kids looking at them way to much.

    Jena – That’s awesome! I’m sure you will treasure those gifts forever.

    KT – We have that video as well. It’s really well done. I would like to start watching it each year as well.

    Ladytink_534 – Oh good! I’m glad it’s really good!

    Vickie, Kerri, and Elizabeth W. – Thank you for stopping by with your kind thoughts!

    on December 23rd, 2008 at 9:37 pm

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