Book Advent Calendar

Countdown to Christmas: Book Advent Calendar from The Cottage Mama. This is SUCH a great idea to do with kids!!

This year we introduced a new Christmas Advent Tradition into our family. I know it’s after Christmas, but this was so much fun that I thought I would share the details with you in case you want to incorporate this into your family traditions next year.

I think the countdown to Christmas is so much fun for kids. My husband grew up with the paper chocolate advent calendars and I grew up with a fabric advent calendar (go figure, right?). And my mom actually made us a fabric one VERY similar to the one we had growing up this year, but I’ll share more about that in another post (plus she has a free pattern for you!). But I had heard of the idea of doing a book advent for years and I finally planned ahead enough to make it happen this year! So yes, we had three different advent things going on, but it really was so much fun!

Countdown to Christmas: Book Advent Calendar from The Cottage Mama. This is SUCH a great idea to do with kids!!

What is a book advent? It’s very simple. Basically you wrap up 24 Christmas books and open one each night until Christmas Eve. After the last book is read, the kids know that Santa is on his way!

Countdown to Christmas: Book Advent Calendar from The Cottage Mama. This is SUCH a great idea to do with kids!!

You can do strictly Christmas themed books or you can incorporate winter books into the mix. So you’re probably thinking ‘where in the world am I going to get 24 Christmas books?’. Well, it’s actually really easy. You probably already have some in your home book collection, but if you want to incorporate this tradition, just be on the look out for Christmas books anytime you hit up the thrift shops during the year or check out your neighborhood garage sales. They usually have lots of holiday books for very little money. Also, our area has library sales where you can get loads of children’s books for less or you could even check out some books to use depending on how long your library will allow you to check out holiday books.

Countdown to Christmas: Book Advent Calendar from The Cottage Mama. This is SUCH a great idea to do with kids!!

Countdown to Christmas: Book Advent Calendar from The Cottage Mama. This is SUCH a great idea to do with kids!!

We had probably 12 really good Christmas books in our collection before I got serious about putting together a book advent. I ordered several books that I knew I wanted in our permanent collection that we didn’t have such as
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
, etc. Then I asked my mother-in-law (who loves books), if she had any books I could borrow. She had plenty! She had already purchased The Little Snowplow for Caspian for Christmas, so she gave me that one early to include in our 24 books.

Countdown to Christmas: Book Advent Calendar from The Cottage Mama. This is SUCH a great idea to do with kids!!

Anyway, I simply wrapped all the books…….it took about an hour and presented them to the kids on November 30th. They were SO excited!! I had marked the first book with a #1 (Elf on the Shelf) and the last book with a #24 (The Night Before Christmas), but all the other books were left un-numbered.

We did a rotation with the three big kids…..Savannah, Matilda, Caspian, Savannah, Matilda, Caspian. So if it was their day, they got to put the ornament up on the fabric advent calendar and got to select a book from the pile to unwrap. We made them wait until right before bedtime to unwrap it. That worked well because it made them excited for bedtime! My husband typically does bedtime and stories and usually he reads three different stories (1 for each child…..but all together), so this streamlined bedtime with only 1 story per night. The kids really loved having a present to open before Christmas!

Countdown to Christmas: Book Advent Calendar from The Cottage Mama. This is SUCH a great idea to do with kids!!

Now, our kids are very close in age, so if you have kids that are spread farther apart, you might have to adjust the stories you select. Or you could have your older children read to the younger kids. I also think it’s important to mix up the books. I think the kids would be bored if they were all the same stories next year. They were SO thrilled when it was a new book that they hadn’t seen before. So if you can borrow books, check some out from the library or exchange with friends, that would probably be best.

And if you are worried about wasting wrapping paper, you could use newspaper. I wrapped our books so that they matched our decorations and they acted as an additional decoration around the house. But do whatever works for you.

Countdown to Christmas: Book Advent Calendar from The Cottage Mama. This is SUCH a great idea to do with kids!!

So, what do you think? Have you done a book advent? What are your favorite books to read each Christmas season?

Merry (belated) Christmas!

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5 Comments

  1. Norma Segui says:

    Great idea!!!

  2. We do this every year (I just hide the books and bring out a new one every day to add to our basket) and my kids all love it! I’ve seen suggestions to wrap the books you own *now* for next year before you pack them away to save a little time 🙂 We get several from the library and have added a few new ones every year – everybody’s always so excited to read the book for the day! I’ve got some of our favorites listed here: http://rosie-ablogformymom.blogspot.com/2015/11/christmas-advent-reads-for-6-and-under.html

  3. Thanks for sharing! It sounds like an awesome idea!

  4. Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a fabulous idea, and no calories included, thank you for sharing.