A few years back I had heard the brilliant idea of using Christmas themed books to help kids count down to Christmas Day. The premise is that you create an Advent calendar of sorts by wrapping up 24 individual children’s books and each day you unwrap one book and read it before bed. I loved this idea so much that I began the process of getting 24 holiday books and was pretty excited to find 16 books that first year. I was so excited to have such a great start!
A decade later our special Christmas book collection has grown to well over the needed 24 and my method sharing the titles with the kids has drastically changed as well. Now I put all the books in a box under our tree and allow the kids free-range on reading these special titles any time they want during the Christmas season. Once December 1st comes around the kids will take turns picking one a book to read from our selection until we have read a different book each night for our Christmas count down.
If you’re interested in starting a similar tradition with your family I have a few suggestions on how to begin without breaking the bank.
- Search for Sales :: ’tis the season for sales, but also look for end-of-season sales!
- Buy Used :: a local resale shop can yield some great gently used titles.
- Gift Lists :: suggest a Christmas book to family members looking to find a meaningful gift. Grandma’s Christmas Wish by Helen Foster James and illustrated by Petra Brown is an adorable book, even leaves space for a special letter from Grandma!
- Borrow It :: check books out from your local library but be aware that some may have shortened check out periods due to the heightened demand.
- Invest for Yourself :: buying a few books that you think will be loved for years to come can be a totally justifiable splurge this time of year.
If you’re looking to add some new titles to your shelves this year here are a few from our friends at Sleeping Bear Press that my kids are excited to see added to our box of books this year.
Good Night, Reindeer by Denise Brennan-Nelson and illustrated by Marco Bucci, is a fun way to show kids that everyone needs a good night of sleep before Christmas morning! If you will be seeing family over the holidays The Little Kids’ Table by Mary Ann McCabe Riehle and illustrated by Mary Reaves Uhles is a fun reminder of the shenanigans that happens when the kids all eat together. As we move through the entire holiday season, younger independent readers will enjoy Frog and Friends: Celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve by Josée Masse. The Nutcracker’s Night Before Christmas by Keith Brockett and illustrated by Joseph Cowman is a fun mix of the classic “The Night Before Christmas” poem and a disaster ridden performance of The Nutcracker ballet.
Whether you’re a wrapper or a boxer, making books a part of your holiday traditions can be a great way to encourage young readers!