Counting down to Christmas is almost as much fun as the holiday itself. Do a search on Pinterest and you can quickly become overwhelmed with all of the different advent calendars and ideas for counting down the days – paper chains, little gifts in numbered brown paper bags, LEGO builds for each day leading up to Christmas, adding cotton balls to Santa’s face to create a beard – and so many more! Many of these ideas are time intensive and include actual toys and gifts (won’t your child be getting enough of those on the big day?). My favorite way to count down to Christmas is by doing a 25 Books to Christmas countdown.
I first noticed this tradition making its way around the internet before I was even pregnant, and as a librarian, I LOVED the idea. Basically, you purchase (or borrow or check out from the library) 25 books. I have friends who use a combination of new books with books they already own and even books checked out from the public library (you will return them after Christmas). You can find inexpensive books at library sales, garage sales, and thrift stores – don’t let the idea or cost of 25 books scare you before you even get started. Try to plan ahead for next year and buy some books after Christmas when everything is on sale – just don’t forget where you put them!
I like to use books that are holiday themed, but you don’t have to. You can use this as an opportunity to fill your child’s home library and get books that are on their “to read” list. You can also include books that include other holidays, such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and even books that have lessons in them, such as the importance of being grateful and kind or the story of Christmas.
Some of My Favorite All Ages Holiday Titles
Check out These Websites for More Great Holiday Books
Reading Rockets – The Books for the Holidays
Common Sense Media – Holiday Books Books for Kids
How it Works :: Tips & Tricks
I gather my books in November and wrap them before December 1 (this is the hardest part, because chances are you are already busy with Thanksgiving and other holiday craziness … you can make it easy on yourself and just stick the books in bags – don’t stress over this part! But, you do want to wrap them … unwrapping is part of the fun!). Didn’t plan ahead or starting out after December 1? No worries, you can still enjoy this tradition even if you start mid-month.
You can number the books like an actual advent calendar and count down to December 25 or what I do is just let my toddler pick one each day out of a basket. There are no bows or fancy extras on the packages. I do not care which book gets opened on which day. If you have a special book you want to read on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, go ahead and label it somehow.
Each day leading up to Christmas, we open up one book. I might not read it right away with my little one, but at some point during the day, we read the book and then leave it out so that we can return to it throughout the month. I like to snap a photo of the book with my toddler and share it on social media. Not only does that give others some good suggestions for reading, but you know – she’s cute!
At the end of the holiday season, the books get packed up with all of the other holiday decorations. I go through them before I pack them away and donate ones I think we may want to replace for the next year. This is a tradition I know we will continue throughout the years.