Thanks for the ideas!
Actually, I do like lentils. Not sure I'l convince my mother-in-law though. She's from the Russian Far East. Doesn't speak a word of English (and my Russian is almost non-existent). Also, the whole concept of vegetables, beyond tomatoes, cucumber, and a smattering grated carrot in anything other than the 2 months of summer (and of course anything pickled all year), is totally alien to her (although I realize that lentils are not exactly vegetables, they would fall into the same category for her). This is part of the reason I do most of the cooking still with her currently here, but also because she is 70 and having had a tough life, taking care of my little guys, even a few hours in the day, completely poops her out. So actually I feel rather guilty when she goes and cooks something extra in order to satiate my hubby.
I did try to tell my eldest about St. Nicholas, but he wasn't interested. I'll have to retell it in story version (he's currently sitting quite happily through the novella version of "Peter Pan", so I'm sure he can sit through that).
Looks like I'll have to purchase those golden books online. I went to 4 different stores yesterday and could not find them. I did finally find 2 books at one book store (the last store I visited) that actually had something to do with Jesus, amongst a zillion other "Christmas" books. And I had to ask the staff - only one of them was relatively easy to find). It was absolutely shocking. 2 Christmas books only that mention Jesus!!!!! And forget about DVD's. Absolutely nothing for children that combine Jesus and Christmas. NOTHING. I'll guess I'll have to find a Christian bookstore (there was one about a 20 minute drive from me but it has since gone out of business - I think the next closest is about an hour away).
The books I did get were quite nice though - This Is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten (it is a poem about the Christmas story that has lovely illustrations), and God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergen, which deals with a mommy polar bear working to get across who really created Christmas and why to her daughter (who thinks Christmas is all about Santa and presents - i.e. my son, egged on by my atheistic/agnostic relatives and his peers etc.).
Sigh. TWO Christmas books out of a bunch that actually mention Jesus?!?!?