Posts tagged christmas
Literary Dinner | The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is such a shift from the popular ballet we all know and love, and it was wonderful to read during the holiday season. Even more wonderful was getting to immerse ourselves into the inspiration behind the music that lead to the ballet, and revel in Hoffman’s incredibly creative literary work.

This was one of those dinners where Michaela had a vision, but couldn’t fully articulate it, so between a little bit of telepathy and trusting her vision, we brought it to life together. It was a literary dinner party dream come true. Twinkle lights forever, y’all.


We brought in a trimmed piece of a pear tree from my backyard, hung it with fishing line and decked it out with Christmas lights and gold ornaments. A simple, yet striking focal point. The table was layered with a tablecloth and runner, with a large nutcracker as the focal point, balanced on either side with tall candle tapers, bottle brush trees, candles, and some fake snow to add to the glittering effect we often associate with The Nutcracker. We were going for a kind of “enchanted forest” feel, and I think we nailed it.


It was so great to tie in elements from the actual story, but also parts of the ballet that have left an imprint in our minds. We wanted to keep a classic and traditional Christmas feel, but also different from what we’ve done before. We were both pretty thrilled with the results!


While a tasty pumpkin and sausage soup simmered on the stove, we had an elaborate charcuterie platter and a custom cocktail to go with it. We used additional branches wrapped with lights on the counter by the window, a small floral and greenery centerpiece with evergreen branches and red roses, along with candles and few small nutcrackers to keep the theme cohesive.


A blackberry simple syrup to amp up the champagne, topped with cranberries and rosemary was a delightful treat as we snacked and waited for dinner.


We went ahead and splurged on a bakery made buche de noel for dessert, and swapped out cocktails for cocoa as we ended the night. We talked quite a bit about the magic of the story and how great a read it was this time of year.

This concludes our holiday season as we ring in the New Year. Cheers, friends!

A Gift Guide For The Young Readers In Your Life

Between our two families we currently have four children, from newborn to thirteen (plus nieces and nephews galore). We really prioritize our kids having their own reading lives, and have been encouraging that in any way we can from their earliest days, so we use the holidays as yet another opportunity for us to incorporate the magic of reading into their lives. We firmly believe the bookish gift giving isn't just for adults, and that the kids in your life will be delighted to find any of these under the tree! 


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Babies and Toddlers

Want to introduce classic literature to your 10 month old? No problem

Give your toddler their own reading chair to explore books in, and encourage that reading time.

How amazing would these be in a nursery?

This is my very favorite version of a timeless holiday classic. We've read this every December since my son was born, and the illustrations still delight me. 

How about some bright, bookish toy storage?

Our kids have these books, and they absolutely love them. The personalization of them is really unique, and would make a perfect gift.



My 4 year old, after devouring all the Elephant and Piggie books, was bereft that there were no more until we found this series at the library last week. He's definitely getting more for Christmas!

So many pop-up books are too simplistic for kids who are past toddlerhood, but these are amazing. We have every single one in the series and they are all super informative, while having tons of bells and whistles for kids to manipulate. 

Nothing delights our kids more than getting mail, and magazine subscriptions have been a big hit! We like Ranger Rick four our younger kiddos and Muse for the older ones.

How about some super adorable bookmarks?

Book lights are such a big hit with our kids!

I love to send my favorite classics to my nieces. The options are endless!

Kids love getting mail, so order them up a subscription box and help build up their library! Plus use the code ARDENT15 for 15% off 

Have you considered a kid's tote bag so they can have their very own library book bag?

A reading journal just for kids is perfect for the dedicated little bookworm. Our younger kids aren't allowed phones or devices quite yet, so paper is the way to go!



Keepsake classic novels in beautiful editions are always the perfect gift. The best part is that there are so many to choose from! Teenagers are the best to buy classics for because they are old enough for most of the really good ones :)

A clean, modern bookmark they'll love, or pick a fandom, any fandom.

Or stick to the original and get any piece of Harry Potter decor they could ever want! 

A custom book plate stamp, so they can lend their books out and actually get them back, for once.

Book flags are so great, my kids love to mark pages to later share with me.

Give them the gift of a fun bookish subscription box-- these are sincerely so fun.

Got a tech obsessed teen? Try our favorite e-reader!


We hope this helped! What are you getting the young readers in your life this year?