12 Days of Christmas, Day 1 – Kristi Valiant

Welcome to the 2011 edition of the 12 Days of Christmas. Three years ago I contacted 12 friends who are children’s book creators and asked them to share their favourite Christmas Memories… and each Christmas since, I have added to that list. This year a new bundle pop up with a wonderful smattering of memories; some are funny, some are serious, some will certainly make you giggle – or get goose bumps … and they are all from the heart. I hope you do enjoy these Christmas memories.
And to kick off this year with the first day of Christmas is my lovely friend and wonderful illustrator Kristi Valiant who lives in Evansville, Indiana (USA) with her delightful memory of Christmas Eve nights and also the beginning of new traditions.

Christmas for me growing up in Wisconsin (USA) was full of lovely traditions, food, church, gifts, snow and time spent with my huge extended family.

Every Christmas Eve night, my four brothers and I bundled up as best we could in our Christmas finery and Dad herded us outside into the van. We’d wait and wait for Mom to finish getting ready and come out.  Dad beeped. My brothers and I bickered. Finally Mom came shuffling outside so we could head to church. Afterwards we drove all around town looking at Christmas lights. When we arrived back home, the youngest got to enter the house first because Santa always came to our house while we had been out on Christmas Eve night. Our town of Fond du Lac was first on his list of stops for the night. We’d open our presents and stay up half the night playing with toys and eating candy. My parents preferred sleeping in. It took me years to figure out that Mom was really helping Santa while the rest of us were freezing our butts off in the van outside waiting for her.

Now my husband and I are figuring out what traditions we want to create with our family. Last year for our older daughter’s first Christmas we began the tradition of baking a birthday cake for Jesus and singing Happy Birthday to him on Christmas day. This year we have another newborn and will continue that tradition with both our girls.  It’s a simple way to help us and the girls remember what we’re celebrating – how God came to earth as a humble baby so we can go to heaven with him someday.

My absolute favorite way to celebrate Christmas is to stuff a bunch of shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies, books, and hygiene items and give them to Operation Christmas Child (www.operationchristmaschild.com) to send to kids all over the world who need some Christmas love. This year our shoeboxes ended up in south Sudan. How beautiful is that!

Kristi has illustrated a handful of picture books. Her debut author / illustrator picture book is PENGUIN CHA-CHA (Random House 2013). She is currently illustrating a series of chapter books called Little Wings about a messy-haired cupid She is the Regional Advisor for Indiana SCBWI and lives with her husband, daughters, and a room full of hippos and monkeys.

Have a look at Kristi’s website here and send her a note to say Hi!

One Response to 12 Days of Christmas, Day 1 – Kristi Valiant

  1. We always sang Happy Birthday once my nieces and nephews arrived… and we always have a birthday cake at Christmas Mass.

    Bini December 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm Reply

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