A Cornucopia of Thanksgiving Fun

Olivia Helps with Christmas

Dear Friends,

I have many talents. I can lasso a horse, make an excellent grilled cheese, and dance in high heels, but I CANNOT SING. Can't carry a tune in a bucket. But do I let this stop me? NO. Especially at Christmas. The more I can belt out a chorus (Think "Angels We Have Heard on High) the louder and more joyfully I share my non-gift with world. This talent started at the tender age of 3, when I earned quite the reputation for putting my feet on the table and singing through the entirety of every family meal. This would be about the same time that I decided on my lifelong career of being a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. C'est la vie! 

After learning this interesting fact about me, you will understand why Olivia Helps with Christmas is a book that is dear to my heart. Enjoy!


Olivia Helps with Christmas

by Ian Falconer

In true Olivia fashion, our favorite little pig’s enthusiasm for life and all things Christmas creates laugh out loud entertainment for readers while exhausting her family with her helpful attitude.
Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf
Ian Falconer is obviously very familiar with young children, as his books resonate with adults who have an Olivia of their own or who perhaps were an Olivia themselves once upon a time. The story is highly entertaining but told with heart in a beautifully understated manner that allows the characters to shine.
Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf
Smiles and giggles are guaranteed for both grownups and children as we follow Olivia through her family’s Christmas preparations. From helping to set the table to leading the Santa watch, Olivia Helps With Christmas is a true joy.

In this Issue


Olivia's Christmas Night Tomato Soup

As with the recipe we developed to accompany the original Olivia, our inspiration for this recipe is drawn from Ian Falconer's predominant use of red in the illustrations. Besides, what is more classic and cheery than a cup of homemade tomato soup? 

Olivia Helps With Christmas10

Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf

Olivia's Christmas Night Tomato Soup


  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth or 2 cups water + 1 vegetable bullion cube
  • 1/4 cup fat free half and half
  1. Combine all ingredients except half and half in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in half and half.
  3. Allow soup to cool before transferring to a blender and blending until smooth. 
  4. Return soup to saucepan to gently reheat.


Olivia's Tabletop Christmas Tree

With a little assistance from an adult to get the craft started, young readers can take the lead and create a Christmas tree that truly reflects their individuality. Whether its glitter and feathers, or stickers and construction paper, or any other odds and ends from your art shelf, there is no such thing as too much when it comes to decorating these Christmas trees. 

We this would be loads of fun to do at a kids Christmas party. Just make a large supply of basic trees beforehand, and let the magic begin!

Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf

Olivia's Tabletop Christmas Tree


  • piece of scrap paper
  • pencil or marker
  • corrugated cardboard
  • scissors
  • craft glue or glue gun
  • 2 clothespin (optional)
  • green paint
  • Decorating Supplies: ribbon, yarn, stickers, glitter, markers, crayons, sequins, pipe cleaners, construction paper, etc. 

Adult Steps

  1. On the piece of scrap paper, draw a triangle to the desired size of your tree. To make sure both sides are even, fold paper in half and draw a line from one corner to the one opposite. Cut along line and unfold. Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf
  2. Trace 2 triangle onto cardboard and cut out. Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf
  3. On one cardboard triangle, draw a line dividing it in half lengthwise. You can refold your scrap paper template to make a guide. Cut along this line.  Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf
  4. Using one piece of the triangle you just cut in half, apply glue along the center edge and attach to the full triangle piece, lining up the bottom edges and the top points. Allow to dry. If you clip a clothespin to each end, it will hold the piece in place while it dries.  Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf
  5. Once dry, glue second piece on opposite side of tree and let dry. Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf

    Young Reader Step

  6. Now for the fun part! Paint and decorate as desired. Tabletop Tree - Olivia Helps With Christmas - Off the Shelf


One Year Ago: When Matti peeks in the oven while baking a batch of gingerbread, out jumps the Gingerbread Baby! Join the fun in this holiday classic by Jan Brett and see if you can catch the Gingerbread Baby!


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