Traditions have come to be one of my favorite aspects of a holiday. The familiarity and anticipation of making a special dish or doing a family activity year after year is so special.
Our newest holiday activity is our 24 days of Christmas books tradition – a simple and educational twist on an advent calendar.
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Last year I started this new countdown to Christmas for our family. I wrapped 24 Christmas books and put them under the tree. Every night before bed, the kids got to choose a package to unwrap and we read it together.
Sometimes a cup of hot cocoa or a warm chocolate chip cookie was included as a treat to go along with our book. It’s so fun!
I have tried other advent calendars in the past but it seemed like I was just spending $20 on junk that was not getting played with or used. With the books, I felt good about buying something that we would definitely use and is educational for the kids.
24 Days of Christmas Books Tradition
The best thing about this tradition is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot. My plan to obtain the books for this DIY Advent Calendar is simple and easy.
1. Use What You Have. Find Christmas books that you already have at your home. I was shocked to find we already had 19! We love books, what can I say?
2. Shop for Cheap Books. Go to Thrift stores or use Facebook/Online Garage sales to find seasonal books. I can often find these for just a dollar or two which makes it an inexpensive option.
3. Buy a Few New. I am using Amazon for this because I find their prices on books to be pretty good and they are delivered right to my door. If I am going to buy something new for my kiddos, books are always something that I don’t feel too guilty about and there are many on Amazon for $3-4 dollars.
4. Library You could even use the library to expand your Christmas book selection for free! Just make sure you use care not to get tape on the books (so that you don’t damage the cover). And be sure to keep up with the return due date so that you don’t get charged any late fees.
Creating the Christmas Advent Book Calendar
My daughter absolutely loved this activity last year. She spent tons of time picking out the package that she wanted to open.
It is like 24 days of Christmas blind bags (are your kids obsessed like mine?) with an educational twist. And instead of some dinky toy, we get to read a book together as a family.
First, find 24 Christmas books.
Next, wrap each book individually.
Each night leading up to Christmas, your child selects one book to unwrap and then you read it together.
It is so much fun! And while it may seem like a lot of work to wrap 24 books, it goes really quick and adds so much excitement to the evenings leading up to Christmas.
New Books for Christmas 2019 (2020 Update Below)
Since my oldest will be 6 this year, I am updating and adding a few new books this year. We will still reuse quite a few of the books listed below but will add a couple of new ones to keep things fresh and age appropriate.
Here are the books on my list:
The Mouse in the Hammock, a Christmas Tale
Poke A Dot – The Night Before Christmas – This one looks like something my 2 year old will adore.
Here are the updates that I made this year to our library.
Splat the Cat Christmas Countdown
What If I Don’t Want to Do 24 Days of Books?
Don’t! You can totally customize this to whatever time period that seems reasonable for you. I think 12 days would be a nice intro into this DIY Christmas Advent Calendar.
Original Books for Christmas Advent Calendar
Here are ideas for books that we are reading this holiday season or that we may purchase. After shopping our house for Christmas books, I will search some thrift stores and Amazon for a few fresh books to put into the mix. I hope you try this 24 days of Christmas books tradition!
Look & Find Christmas Bible Stories – We have the Rudolph version but I love this biblical version to remind us of the reason for the season.
Touch & Feel Christmas – I got this for my daughter a few years ago and now it is perfect for our newest little one. And my older one still loves to touch and feel the book! So it entertains us all.
Frosty The Snowman Board Book – No list is complete without the classic Frosty the Snowman. I like this one because it plays music and my kids just love to push a button!
Frozen Olaf’s Night Before Christmas – A friend gave us this book last year and it is a favorite. If you have a Frozen obsessed little one, I think they will love this book/cd combo.
My Snowman Book – Not really Christmas but I usually include it since it goes with the winter theme. It is a cute little book with vibrant pictures. I bought this a few years ago for my oldest that will now be passed down to the baby.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – A couple of years ago, my daughter discovered the Grinch movie at Christmas time. In June, we were still watching Grinch at least a couple of times a week. Despite that extreme we didn’t ruin a good thing. We still love this book!
Llama Llama Jingle Bells – The entire Llama Llama series is so good. Those silly llamas always have us giggling.
The Berenstain Bears & the Joy of Giving – The message in the Berenstain series is a good one that I like sharing with my kids.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – You will be reminded of your childhood while reading to your kids with this book. It is a great price too!
Elmo’s Countdown to Christmas – Lift the flap books are great to keep the attention of younger kids. This will be a new one for us but it gets great reviews.
The Sweet Smell of Chrismas – Eeek! It is a scratch and sniff Christmas book! Did you have this as a kid? Scents of hot chocolate, Christmas trees, apple pie & more.
Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas – Since the Fancy Nancy show debuted on Disney Jr. my daughter has been obsessed. The Halloween book was a winner, so this one is going on my list. There is also a Disney Jr. Fancy Nancy Ice Skating book if you don’t mind a winter theme.
Happy Holidays, Bubble Guppies – A lift flap book! We have a non-holiday Bubble Guppies lift flap book and it is always fun to read.
Weird but True Christmas: 300 Festive Facts – This National Geographic kids book would be fun for the Elementary school child. I may add this to our list in the next year or two.
The Begginer’s Bible, The Very First Christmas – A great way to teach younger kids why we celebrate Christmas. This book is such a great price!
A Charlie Brown Christmas – I love bringing some of my childhood memories into my kid’s childhood.
Pete the Cat’s 12 Days of Groovy Christmas – We have other Pete books and they are so funny. We may try this one for our preschooler this year.
Merry Christmas, Mouse – The mouse series is so much fun. I love how they do one for most holidays.
Paw Patrol Holiday Helpers – Paw Patrol is one of those cartoons that actually doesn’t get on my nerves! Here is a cute little holiday book with your kid’s favorite pups.
Just A Snowman – The Little Critter books are a cute series and always so affordable.
The Night Before The Night Before Christmas – The story of one family that is having trouble getting their act together. The author possibly modeled this after my family?! It feels like that sometime. We enjoy this funny take on a classic.
River Rose and the Magical Christmas – The Today show featured this book written by Kelly Clarkson. It also comes with a link to listen to a song recorded by Kelly.
The 12 Engines of Christmas – This Thomas the Train book will entertain both my kids which is always a win.
Christmas Cookie Day – Like many, making Christmas cookies is one of our most anticipated traditions.
This twist on a traditional advent calendar was a complete success at my house last year. Will you try this 24 days of Christmas books tradition this year? Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
If you love to give books as gifts, check out this unique baby shower gift idea.