Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Our Christmas Book Advent Calendar - Reading Our Way through Christmas


I am so excited to put together a Christmas Book Advent Calendar again this year, after launching in last year with our Twelve Days of Christmas Books :) This year I was ready to go the whole 24!! Of course, I forgot to collect very many during the year, but managed to scrabble 24 together at the last minute (thanks Amber, for the loaners!!)

If you haven't heard of this before, a Christmas Book Advent Calendar is counting down the days of December up till Christmas Day, using books instead of chocolate, treats or activities etc. As soon as I heard about it last year I was sold - no unnecessary junk food, not too much crazy expectations/work which I surely would not sustain for 24 days (let's be real, Christmas is busy enough, no way could I do a special activity every.single.day, haha) - and a fun way to enjoy delightful Christmas books while we count down to the big day together! Sign me up, I said (to nobody in particular). 

You simply wrap them up, ready for December 1st and let the kids unwrap one to read each night. Gathered under the twinkly lights of the Christmas tree, reading is even more specialm huh?!

Here is this year's collection - mostly mine, some borrowed, and quite a few second hand (some were even Mark's childhood Christmas books!). Some are a bit same-ish, or just not that exciting (it was a stretch to get 24!), but each year I plan to add one good quality book. This year's is currently winging its way to me at the moment thanks to Book Depository. It's called My Christmas List, it looks beautiful and is about remembering the needs of others around the world, at Christmas and all year round. A perfect addition and timely reminder about our family commitment to thinking of others through the Christmas Season.




I love the idea of the kids having a special collection of familiar Christmas books to enjoy over the years - I am sure as they grow older some will phase in and out! But I know it will build some wonderful Christmas book memories for the whole family. It's also a lovely way to enjoy those Christmas books that I don't otherwise know quite what to do with :)





If you like this idea, it's not too late to do one too! You can always add a few non-Christmas books in there to stretch your stash, borrow some from the library or friends, dig around the op shops/thrift stores... or even just do 12 days of Christmas as we did last year, to take the pressure off a bit. It's a fun and easy way to count down to Christmas... and a celebration including books is always a rockin' one in our world ;)



Loving these cute advent numbers! A pretty free printable from here


My Christmas philosophy is very much about keeping things simple and that's part of why I love this Book Advent. But I also love to add in extras if and when I have the ability to do so without killing myself (or the children, haha). So, I had a fun little idea this year to spice it up a little. I taped the back of the paper number tags just at the top, and then on the underside, I flipped up a few of them and wrote some easy little Christmas activities, like 'Have a hot chocolate under the Xmas Tree', 'Call someone and sing them a Christmas carol' etc etc.

I just scattered about a half dozen through, but my thought is that when I have the time/energy/resources, (NOT every day!), then I can just quickly pencil in an extra activity! So if on some days I think we have time to do something or are planning to that night or the next day - e.g. go see Christmas lights, make ornaments, take gifts to the neighbours, etc, then on that day, when the kids lift the flap they will see if there is a little something extra to do :) Should be fun, without over committing or pressuring myself in advance, haha! Just a last minute thought I had. Would really like to focus especially on things that will serve/bless/help/think of others - but a few fun treats in there too of course. Will keep you posted on how that develops... but right now I am thinking it should be fun and manageable as I can just decide day-to-day what we can fit in.





I am so excited to have it all set up, and looking so colourful and enticing (who is the biggest kid here?!). Lily and Eli  were in awe when they saw them all lined up this morning after I set them all up last night.

And now, we eagerly await December 1st so we can start unwrapping and commence reading our way through the Christmas Season! Who wants to join me?! :)







Edited to add:

People have been asking about quality Christmas book suggestions, so here are a few of our best quality and most beloved Christmas books... I buy one good quality one a year to add to our collection, the rest are gifted or second hand!

Google the title to find the best price :)

Living Loving Laughing's Christmas Book Recommendation List!
  • Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift -  Max Lucado
  • Room for a Little One - Martin Waddell
  • Merry Christmas, Blue Kangaroo - Emma Chichester Clark
  • Brucie Saves Christmas - Yvonne Morrison
  • Christmas - Dick Bruna
  • My Christmas List - Amy Parker
  • Tari's First Christmas - Mary Diestel-Fedderson
  • I Love Christmas - Anna Walker
  • The Best Christmas Book Ever - Richard Scarry
  • God Gave Us Christmas - Lisa Tawn Bergren


PS If you like these adorable tags, you can download them free from this lovely site here, which I dug up through good ol' Pinterest. Enjoy! xx

15 comments:

  1. Love it! I am currently writing a similar post about our traditions too!

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    1. can't wait to read it, Andi! I am thinking I need to refresh mine this year too x

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  2. love these, so pretty, love the labels for each one, and will be great to keep for each year. i have tried to whole busy crazy advent calendar and get behind one week in :) i do try to get all the christmas books together and read one each night, not sure how many we have. . . we have tried to collect all the australian ones as they are different and fun for us (though don't know how high quality they are :) --We have Aussie night before christmas, Aussie day before christmas, Aussie 12 days of Christmas, Aussie Jingle Bells, 6 White boomers, We have some others that I really like that aren't the cheesy Australian ones, but I will have to find them. I've tried to make things a bit simpler this year too. on our clanedar we have Carols by Candle Light, Christmas movie at home with popcorn, Decorate the tree, one day we bake cookies and treats, then the over the next couple of days or at church on sunday we give them to people who don't really have family to celebrate with, I've been trying to brainstorm other ways we can give/serve this year so it's not about me me me but more about time together and giving to others, also trying to keep it manageable for me so it's fun not stressful

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    1. hey melaine, love that you are collecting so many aussie xmas books! you are right, some are quite cheesy (the aussie ones!) but i am sure you will end up with some high quality ones too. Some of mine are also pretty cheesy (fillers) but hoping I can slowly make it a more quality stash too. your christmas plans sound just wonderful! love the idea of baking treats to share with others - always makes me nervous but think i am going to try that this year??! but you are so right - keep it manageable and not stressful cos otherwise there is just no joy in it. I really have to keep putting the reins on myself so i dont over reach this year too!

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  3. Your calendar looks lovely – pinning! We did this idea last year too and the kids really loved it.

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    1. thanks so much Kate! I'd love to see your collection for this year too :)

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  4. Such a great idea. We have SO many Christmas books, I love them!

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    1. it's lovely to have those special books for this time of year, huh? I cant wait to get into them!

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  5. This is possibly the best advent idea I have ever heard. My book-loving family would go nuts for this! "Sign me up!" I say!!!

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    1. heehee your comment really made me smile!!! :) Love it. Love to hear of a family of book worms and so glad you love this idea too - can't wait to see your book collection!!!! xx k

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  6. haha, I am totally with you on the flexible christmas activity things! I made our advent calendar this year, and it's blank! I'm going to wait to play it by ear as to what goes in each day. But I love the Christmas book idea - we might do that next year. I reckon I could get books from the library and wrap them up - my kids wouldn't mind if we returned them again afterwards. :)

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    1. sounds like a good plan danya ;) yesssss its all about being realistic huh, not too much stress or pressure, i know i couldnt sustain something on every single day. yes library books work great for the advent calendar - and u dont have to store them all year either ;)

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  7. I can't wait to show this to my girl! This definitely will be our Christmas family tradition now on! Thank you!

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  8. Your advent calendar looks really awesome. how nice. We have done thi once before. you have inspired me to do it again :)

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  9. I would love to hear about family Christmas traditions x

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