One of our favorite Christmas books is The Sweet Smell of Christmas, by Patricia Scarry. In this interactive scratch and sniff book, you’ll meet a little bear that is experiencing all the smells of Christmas. Along the way, you have the opportunity to smell the smells with him by scratching the stickers on each page.
Our love for this book began when my kids (ages 10 and 14) were in preschool. Each Christmas, I diligently signed up to be a mystery reader or a party helper so I could share this sweet story with their class. While scratching and sniffing each page with just your own children works out perfectly, it is not quite as manageable with 12+ little ones! But that’s where the real fun begins!
Rather than having everyone scratch and sniff, I made festive boxes or bags for each child. In each bag, I placed a sprig of pine tree, a candy cane, an orange, hot cocoa mix, a gingerbread cookie, and a slice of apple sprinkled with cinnamon (or a mini apple pie, if you dare!). Before beginning the story, I explained to everyone that the items in the bag/box were things they’d need to go on a Christmas adventure with the little bear in our story. I always let them peek inside but asked them not to touch the items until it was time.
As I read the book aloud, each time the little bear encountered a new smell, I invited the children to find that item and smell it too. They LOVED this! At the end of the story, I brought out warm milk, cups, and spoons to let the children make their own hot cocoa with their mix to enjoy with the candy cane, cookie, orange, and apple slice. It’s an activity and snack all rolled into one!
I no longer have a preschool class to read to, but I love giving this book (and smelling items!) as a gift to our family and friends who do have little ones. So often these days, we have a tendency to get wrapped up in the grandness of the season. Sometimes, it’s nice to give a gift that gives our loved ones away to celebrate in a simple, sweet way! You can find your own copy of the book here.
Looking for more holiday reads? Be sure to check out this post on Atlanta Mom.