Today we have the first flakes of snow falling and our family back together after a long separation this summer. It’s starting to feel a bit like Christmas is almost here! Last week I received a copy of Cranberry Christmas from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine to review. In our house cranberries are normally a part of thanksgiving, so it was a lot of fun for us to learn about other families cranberry traditions at Christmas time.
About the Book
Cranberry Christmas is a multi-author e-book containing poems, recipes, craft ideas, and stories all related to cranberries and holiday traditions.
Did you know cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America? Cranberry Christmas contains a wonderful article on the history and uses of cranberries. The pages are beautiful full color, formatted in a PDF for easy reading on our tablet or computer. Each article has at least one photo to help tell the story. We enjoyed seeing the various cranberry products and even a picture of harvesting cranberries in a bog. There is also a crossword and word search with answer keys.
Cranberry Taste Test
As suggested by the poem on the first page, fresh cranberries are very tart and usually not a favorite. I really wanted to do a taste test with fresh (or frozen) unsweetened cranberries to compare to sweetened cranberry sauce. I was not able to find any unsweetened cranberries at the store, so we just tasted the sauce. I expect to see fresh and frozen cranberries all over stores in another week or two when the Thanksgiving food sales start.
All three boys have had cranberry sauce before, but don’t really remember it. It was fun to see the reactions. Magoo was the funniest, “This is really yummy mommy. Can we make more of it?” I showed the boys the recipes in the book for various cranberry treats and we picked out some to make in a few weeks when we prepare our Thanksgiving dinner.
Decorating for the Holidays
The book has templates for place holders and napkin rings as well as a guide for dying paper with homemade cranberry dye. We talked about why and how to use place holders and napkin rings when setting the table for a formal meal. Bebop really got into the idea and is very excited to have a formal table set up for our holiday meals.
Cranberries are often used in decorations. Fresh cranberries can be strung with popcorn to make garland for the Christmas tree (We are going to try it this year!). I went through our holiday box and I think we have a lot of fake cranberries among the decorations. I’m not totally sure if these are cranberries of another type of holiday berry. What do you think?
My Thoughts on the Book
I normally don’t like ebooks all that much, but this one is a definite exception. The formatting is done very nicely and the full color pages feel almost like reading a real book. I was able to sit down with the boys and read with out them being distracted by the tablet itself. I think the use of so many color pictures helped keep their attention.
We didn’t use the crossword because I didn’t want to use up ink printing a full color (or full black and white) page. I think its a bit advanced for Bebop anyway (he’s in first grade). I didn’t think we would do the crossword either but Bebop loved searching for words on the tablet. It was by far his favorite page of the book!
This book has reminded me of so many holiday traditions that it definitely sparked excitement for the upcoming holiday season. I’m really glad we read it now with time to plan for many of the activities over the next month or two. I’m sure will will pick up this book to read several more times before Christmas!
Doodad was so excited to eat the leftovers off the “fancy” plate after I finished taking photos.
Full price the book is $12.45. I would probably not pay full price for this book, as its priced higher than I tend to spend on ebooks. It does contain enough material to easily be a full unit study during the holiday season and is the type of book that can be used for many years. On sale, I would definitely get this book. Right now the book is available for FREE! I’m not sure how long this promotion will last, so go grab your copy now!