We LOVE advent calendars at our house – mostly because we love counting down until Christmas. It’s our favorite time of year. If you come to our home during the month of December, you’ll likely hear Bing Crosby or Harry Connick Jr.’s Christmas album playing and a platter of Christmas goodies on the counter. I love to decorate, love to do Christmas crafts, and LOVE Christmas books! (I love ALL books, but have a special place in my heart for Christmas stories!)
I’ve mentioned some of my favorite advent calendars on the blog before. You can find a collection of super-cute advent calendar ideas, and can check out a post about my all-time FAVORITE holiday tradition too.
We love the many ways we count down to our favorite holiday. Last year, we found another awesome way to get excited about Christmas AND incorporate reading into our day. Christmas and books – does it get any better than that?!
1. Collect Your Books
To create a book advent, you’ll need to start by gathering 24 books. Select books that your children will enjoy. Because part of the tradition involves reading the book aloud, chapter books aren’t the best options for this activity. A few options are:
- Select 24 classic picture books
- This is a FANTASTIC opportunity to bolster your picture book collection! Need picture book ideas? Check out my list of my 100 Pictures Books You MUST Read to Your Kids.
We chose this option last year and I had so much fun picking out favorite titles.
- Select books that feature favorite “characters.”
- This is a good option if you have reluctant readers. Kids often will gravitate towards books that feature their favorite characters or interests. Choose titles that are based on tv/movies, Disney, video games, or hobbies like LEGO, etc.
- Select 24 Christmas books
Check out my 25 Christmas Books for Kids and Families Post!
This is the route we are taking this year. Though we already have a fairly extensive collection of Christmas picture books, I had TONS of fun finding new titles or different versions of titles. I also threw in some titles on things like snowmen, snow, winter, etc.
2. Wrap the Books
After you’ve gathered your books, wrap each book individually. Choose Christmas paper to make them more attractive and inviting for the kids.
3. Find a Spot
Select a place of importance for your books. Even the very act of placing the books in a special place speaks volumes to our kids. I want my children to know, understand, and believe that books are treasures. They’re gifts. They are held in high regard. Place them in a fancy basket, in a special box under the tree, or as part of a holiday display.
When the books are in sight, they also help your child develop anticipation of the nightly pick! He/she will begin to get curious and wonder which story they will choose that night. (It’s so fun!)
4. One Book Each Night
Each night leading up to Christmas, have your children select one book from the stack. (We have four kids, so they take turns choosing the book.) I love the selection process. I love the way my children carefully look at all of the wrapped books, wanting to choose just the right one. (I also have one child who chooses solely based on the wrapping paper.)
5. Read the Book Together
What good would a book tradition be without READING?! After the book has been chosen, unwrapped, and celebrated, we snuggle up on the couch as a family, and read the story. I absolutely LOVE this. It’s so special to have all six of us together for storytime. I love it. It is absolutely magical.
When you read together as a family, and take time to celebrate and appreciate books with your children, they are more likely to fall in love with reading and grow up to be readers.
Start gathering up your books. I like to hit up the local thrift stores and browse the Scholastic Reading Club flyer. Make this Christmas season a time of reading, literacy, and excitement. Celebrate the magic of the holidays with great books and a fun new tradition. Happy Holidays and happy reading!!