book review, Something To Do

The Christmas Wish book review and Elf Cap Craft

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The Christmas Wish

The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert and the most stunning photography by her husband Per Breiehagen is mesmerizing and sure to become a family classic.

The Christmas Wish

Can you imagine living “…so far North that you never have to put away your winter clothes?”

Such is the case for Anja who’s greatest wish is to go to the North Pole and become one of Santa’s elves.

Before she leaves in search of Santa, Anja helps the old woman down the street by catching her cat, decorating the gingerbread house they had baked together and sweeps out her sauna as well as finds a small pine tree for her to enjoy.

Next thing on her list before she departs is to deliver cards and presents to all her friends.


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After studying the map on the school room wall, Anja is ready to go and find Santa Claus with the help of a red cardinal who helps her find her way. Anja makes her way through the snow on wooden skis until she comes to a horse.

The horse let’s Anja sleep in his barn and lets her ride him for one day and one night. The horse takes Anja to a cave where her next helper friend awaits.


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A musk ox guides Anja through the cave which is filled with ice. When they reach the other side, a huge polar bear greets Anja and offers to take her further North.


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Anja rides on the back of the great bear. As they wait for the next friend to come and help, they settle down for a cozy nap. After a while, Anja hears jingle bells.


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As she looks up she sees a flying reindeer. Landing in front of her, the reindeer announces that he has come to take her to Santa. Flying behind the reindeer on her skis, Anja makes it to Santa just in time to deliver the gifts.


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Santa declares Anja his most important helper, because Anja brings kindness and joy to all those around her all year long.


I cannot stop reading this book. It is so reflective of my Scandinavian culture and captures the colors, sounds, feelings, and magic of winter perfectly.

Back Story

Inspired by his native Norway and his snow loving daughter, Anja, award winning photographer Per Breiehagen created a series of striking images of Anja dressed in traditional Norwegian clothing and Sami reindeer shoes.

The photos show Anja interacting with reindeer and other Arctic animals. The response to these images on Per’s website was beyond expectations. People from all corners of the world wanted to see more.

Lori Evert, Anja’s mother, was so inspired by the beauty and magic of the image of Anja and the reindeer that she wrote a narrative about who they might be and why they were there. The family then created more pictures to illustrate the story.

The Christmas Wish, which began as a family Christmas card, has evolved into a beautifully crafted book for children.

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Somethings To Do

To live inside this wintry tale I’ve come up with the following activities:

1. Decorate a Gingerbread House: There a great tutorial at Mom&Munchkins!


2. Make your own greeting cards with this tutorial from Tinkerlabs!

3. Make one of those incredible red hats that Anja is wearing. Here’s how we did it !!!

Vanderbilt,gnome hats_3641

We couldn’t very well read a book about a Norwegian elf and not have a hat to wear like hers. This simple and fun version I created so that children could knit this without any problem. You can knit this flat or on circular needles. Either way, it comes out just fine.


  • Yarn : I used a chunky 5 baby alpaca yarn
  • Needles size 10
  • Yarn needle only if knitting flat

Gauge: 4 X 4  14 sts over 20 rows

Cast On 65 stitches

Work in rib stitch for two inches. Rib stitch is: knit 2, purl 2

Work in Stockinette stitch for 16 rows. Stockinette stitch is knit a row, purl a row.

*On row 16 start decreasing: This is a knit row. Knit 1, K2together. Knit as usual until you get to the last three stitches at the end of this row. K2together, K 1.

Nest Row: Purl *

Continue this pattern until you have 5 stitches bind off. Gather tightly to close if you are working in the round.

If you knit this flat, block, and sew together.

Vanderbilt,gnome hats_3635

Is that cute or what? If you create this fun hat in your house, please share the details in the comment area below!


This holiday season, give your children the gift that will nurture a lifetime of positive habits; give the gift of a book.

A Year in The Secret Garden
As parents, we want/need quality books with extension activities to help our young ones unplug and create memories. Pulling books from shelves, and stories from pages is also an important act that will aid in them being life-long readers. Quality books with companion book extension activities are not only working to create special family time, it allows kids to solve the world’s problems without major consequences.

A Year in the Secret Garden is just such a book. This delightful children’s book from authors Valarie Budayr and Marilyn Scott-Waters offer unique and original month-by-month activities that allow readers to delve deeper into the classic children’s tale, The Secret Garden! With over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together.
This book will make a great gift and be the catalyst of many hours of family growth, learning and FUN! Grab your copy ASAP and “meet me in the garden!” More details HERE!
A Year in the Secret Garden

5 thoughts on “The Christmas Wish book review and Elf Cap Craft

  1. I have shelves of Christmas books (I even decorate with them) and every year say enough!
    The Christmas Wish is beautiful and I am going to make room for just one more – this one.
    Thanks for the recommendation.

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