Eraser hamsters with Christmas tree
     For years now, I've had two little eraser hamsters sitting on the top of my circulation computer monitor. They usually have some sort of eraser food item between them. If I only have eraser ice cream or eraser cake for them, eventually kids worry that the hamsters aren't getting proper nutrition, and I have to switch it out for eraser fruits, or eraser vegetables. Sometimes a student or even a teacher friend buys the eraser hamsters some new eraser food/treats. I try to give them something new each week or two. The students notice and complain if the eraser food isn't changed out occasionally.
     One time a clever student even made a little appropriately-sized bathtub for the hamsters, complete with tiny towel and tiny sponge, because apparently there was concern about their hygiene.
     Somewhere along the way I received an eraser pumpkin, and started putting it out for the hamsters during October and November. Which meant that of course the kids insisted that something Christmas-themed needed to show up for the hamsters in December.
     But I've kept an eye out, and have yet to find a tiny eraser Christmas tree, or a tiny eraser Christmas present, or stocking, or anything that would work. The last few years I've hand-crafted a tiny Christmas tree (you can see it HERE) out of green construction paper, with red hole-punched ornaments and even a prismatic silver star glued on top.
     This year the kids started asking about the hamsters' Christmas tree, and I just haven't had time to hand-craft one. But the kids kept insisting those hamsters NEEDED something Christmasy. Then I remembered we had some little artificial snowy pine trees we had been using at home for a family miniature diorama craft. So I cut one to eraser hamster size, and brought that in. It has appeased the hamsters and their fans.  
Longshot of eraser hamster environment. This is their world.

SANTA VS THE KRAMPUS : the legend continues

     A few years ago I did this illustration for the cover of the school newspaper's December issue:

     This year I used the same illustration for due date bookmarks, but I split it in two halves, so that students get either the Krampus, or Santa.

It's entirely random. If you're superstitious, you could choose to believe that getting the Krampus means you're BAD, and getting Santa means you're GOOD. I don't tell the kids that, because I wouldn't want the ones who get Krampus to feel bad. But if it were me, and I got the Krampus, I might think I was totally doomed.
     The students are totally aware of the Krampus because of this bulletin board display I have up, which I also did the artwork for several years ago. I do like me some Krampus.

     I was pleased to overhear two girls who were borrowing books teasing each other that if they let their books become overdue, the Krampus would get them. They were giggling and freaking each other out with the Krampus. I approve.
     I've also had several kids asking for a matched set of the due date bookmarks, so they'd have both Santa and the Krampus. One kid even muttered, "Okay, good, now I can just cut off the edge and fit them together to make the complete picture..."
     I think that's pretty cool. It's the little things in life...
     (...that will judge you NAUGHTY, beat you with switches, stuff you in a basket and drag you down to HELL... Merry Christmas!)


It's a blurry cell phone pic, but you get the idea.
     There's a class that meets in the library 4 days a week. In early December, their teacher was organizing a Secret Santa gift exchange, and asked them each to write down 2 or 3 things they would like, to give their Secret Santas some ideas for gifts.
     After the class left that day, I found the above slip of paper lying on the floor. I stashed it in my desk because I thought it was funny, and forgot all about it until I recently re-discovered it.


          I'm careful to only put displays up that mention "Winter Break" or "the Holidays," so I don't make anyone feel excluded regarding whatever their religious or non-religious deal is.  But I know that personally I'm not religious, and Santa and his reindeer were NOT present at the supposed birth of Baby Jesus, so I think it's okay to have those elements on display.  Anyway, here's what I put up this month:
The big central bulletin board, with Krampus and Narnia
          The Krampus is a real German Christmas legend/tradition that I incorporate every year because it's so freaky and fun.
I drew this Krampus depiction a few years ago, to terrify all the little children
It was way too fun for me to draw this frightened, crying little elf
The glass display cabinet with our tree and our Secret Santa gifts packed inside
          The last couple years we've started this cool tradition with the class that meets in the library 4 days a week.  (It's kind of like a homeroom class)  We do a Secret Santa gift exchange, and as soon as the kids start bringing their gifts in, we put them under the tree in the locking cabinet.  So the cabinet starts out kind of empty-looking, but fills up by the last day before Winter Break, when we have our gift exchange.
Well, they DO
Every library should have a glowing deer to preside over the graphic novels & comics
It's a little lackluster in execution, but I like the idea
I'm big on promoting the idea of "leisure reading"
Christmas lights strung behind the circ desk
This is my end-of-the-day, running low on holiday steam, WTF decoration.  Are they candy canes?  I think so.
          And of course I had to decorate myself a little, since I was wearing a green tie and needed something red.  Plus I just like any excuse to use my old-school Dymo label maker with interchangeable colors.