The Sparkle Box

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Sparkle Box in exchange for an honest review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and my family is already hard at work on holiday traditions of giving. Our tree will not be up for a few days, weeks maybe. Our hearts are ready to give to various toy drives, food drives, and more. This year, we’re starting a new tradition thanks to Jill Hardie’s The Sparkle Box

The Sparkle Box
Source: The Sparkle Box

With a themed message of giving gifts to Jesus by doing good deeds, this book is a great addition to Christian faith families. Although our family is a blended faith, we thrive on the message of Christmas and will be using the book to teach our kids even more about giving for others.

The story is rooted in the meaning of Christmas – giving to others. Sam and his family give in various ways, and his excitement over the sparkling box under the tree builds. As an adult, I was able to predict that inside the box would be messages of the giving, but my kids were surprised at the connection of the story and the contents of the box opened at the end of the book. Powerful, beautiful. Teaching children what a gift it is to do good for others as a gift to Jesus is a moving thing.

Here’s a bit more information from the press release:

The Sparkle Box is a compelling holiday children’s book based on a Christmas tradition that author Jill Hardie, her husband and their two children began eight years ago. Every year, the Hardie family places a Sparkle Box under their Christmas tree as a gift for Jesus on His birthday.

Jill wrote The Sparkle Box to spark a new Christmas tradition within other families—one that honors the true meaning of the holiday. ASparkle Box is included in the back of the book and can be easily put together by children as they think of their own gifts to give during the holiday season.

The book shares ideas of special gifts that families and children can give in honor of Jesus’ birthday. These gifts—such as giving warm blankets to the homeless and food for the hungry—can then be jotted down and placed in the enclosed Sparkle Box, to be opened on Christmas morning.

This Christmas, we’ll be reading the story of The Sparkle Box on Christmas morning after we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and before we check out Santa’s cookie plates and the gift pile. It will be a new, well-loved tradition, and I can’t wait to spend the next few weeks making the memories that will go inside.

To purchase the book yourself, you can find it in bookstores on online at Ideals Books for $19.99. The Sparkle Box website includes ideas for making this a Christmas to remember, for all families (not just those who have “stuff” or money to give). 


Apple Butter ’11

My grandmother’s family has an old tradition of making apple butter in a copper kettle with an antique wooden paddle. It’s been 6 years since I last participated and probably 4 or 5 since the last time we did it as a family.

This past weekend, I got to introduce my ‘lil Burghers (and Mr. Burgher) to the tradition. My parents’ church has an annual tradition of making and selling the delicious bread topper, a fall favorite.

Rumor has it (and I’ve only witnessed this once), you get the fire started early in the morning, before the sun comes up, and fill the copper kettle with apples that have been turned into applesauce. You have to have loyal, strong, awake volunteers to constantly stir the pot (or else it burns). This process takes hours, but is well worth the work and the wait.

A few bonuses, you get to roast hot dogs under the kettle, wipe the kettle clean with freshly baked bread (unfortunately, we couldn’t stick around for that part as I had other obligations), and you smell like an amazing campfire (even post shower).

Hopefully one day us 2nd generation Royals will start the tradition back up. Anyone else in with me, Mr. Burgher, and Unca?