By dinnertime, I'll have two of my three chicks (the college kids) home for the holidays and back in our Wheaton nest. My eldest, Hannah is working her first full-time job, so she is a freshman in life – meaning she is graduated from spending money to learn and is on to making money while learning. Like Bob Cratchit in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" she will be working 'til the afternoon on Christmas Eve, hopefully NOT having to fill the work-stove with coal to feel self-sorry by. I'll be at the Wesley store on 12/24, but somehow the four of us will put together a warm, cozy and yummy food homecoming for my Hannah-girl. 

For the Koropps, Christmas Eve no longer means Dave staying up late assembling toys, me scrambling for enough AA batteries, and us bringing out and arranging under the tree all of Santa's secret treasures. Usually while Dave made the race tracks or dollhouses, I was whipping up Jenny's recipe for overnight egg and sausage casserole (ask me and I’ll give it to you) and some muffin mix so that we five could all have at least some grains and protein for the morning melee. 

Is it horribly Scroogey to just LOVE the stage we are in now?? Dave and Emma will shop for and plan the Christmas Eve feast and Hannah will help me with breakfast Christmas morning. Tom comes home tonight. For sure he'll nest under the blanket until he sleeps off his finals, but then I’m counting on him to take Bad Dog away for long runs and then mop the floor when muddy Bad Dog comes in. Intrafamily gift-shopping is now something we do together, taking several cars out and partnering up, keeping our selections secret in the trunks and lunching all together in-between.  Bliss. 

I wanted to share with you three or four books I highly recommend for your loved ones for this season. I am present-ing all of them to my kids and Dave, and each has unplugged, interactive potential of course: 

  • My 21/22 year old daughters: I am present-ing my girls with a getaway so that we can bond, talk and journal our way through the book "Your Story is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice" by Elle Luna. It's a beautifully illustrated collection of thoughtful prompts for chatting and story-telling opportunities designed to help women like us better understand who we are and why. I cannot WAIT to be phone-free and blanketed much with my girls. I think any grand/mom/daughter would never forget an afternoon of sharing these stories. Truly.

  • Empty Nest Dave and I have decided to start a husband/wife bookclub with only us as members. We need more topics than our kiddos, you know? He loves non-fiction and I'm open but prefer great stories, so I think we've settled on the 1927 gem "Triumph and Disaster: Five Historical Miniatures" by Stefan Zweig. This is a terrific gift book for anyone on your list who loves history and understanding more about the people who were uniquely perfect to impact it. Zweig writes, "Millions of people in a nation are necessary for a single genius to arise, millions of tedious hours must pass before a truly historic shooting star of humanity appears in the sky." In it are five vivid dramatizations of some of the most pivotal episodes in human history - chronicling both victories and disasters wrought by real men and women. I think we will start with the chapter regarding British Captain Scott's heartbreaking failure in 1912 in his race with Commander Asmundsen of Sweden to finish what Shackleton began- the journey to the South Pole. And then we will follow up in February with David Grann's "The White Darkness," a modern tale of an Antarctic exploration.

  • For Tom, home from his first semester as a pre-med student, I will be spoiling him with cookies from the BEST COOKIE COOKBOOK EVER, "Sally's Cookie Addiction." When I say best, I mean that everyone will be extremely happy when they lay eyes and tastebuds on these babies.  

Call or email us—we have plenty of each title in stock and can have them wrapped and ready!