Countdown to Christmas!

Every year at Christmas time, our family counts down to Christmas by wrapping Christmas books and placing them under the Christmas tree.  Then each night, starting December 1st,  we open and read a book each day until Christmas Eve. We have 24 books all wrapped and numbered waiting to be chosen. We have done this for several years and the kids are SOOOO excited.

One of the great things about this tradition is that with many of the books we read, we have a family activity that correlates.  For example, when we open Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, we decorate a gingerbread house as a family.  When we read Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner, we go sledding and often end up having a huge snowball fight.  The kids will spend hours under the tree guessing which book is which and trying to guess what we are going to do the next day.  My advice on activities is to be creative!  They don't have to cost money or be overly time consuming.  When we read Merry Christmas Stinky Face, as soon as we finish the book, we use packaging tape to hold our faces in silly expressions...we essentially turn ourselves into stinky faces!

Don't worry that in order to do this you have to go and buy a bunch of Christmas books.  (Who has money for that in December?) While I was building up my collection, I would head to the library and check out books I thought the kids would enjoy.  Then I would number those for the first part of the month, so that I could return them for others to enjoy.  If it ended up being a book we loved, then I would wait until January and buy it CHEAP!

Here is a list of our favorites:

Jingle Bugs: David A. Carter*
How Murray Saved Christmas: Mike Reiss
Christmas Oranges: Linda Bethers*
Christmas City: Michael Garland
Gingerbread Baby: Jan Brett*
Santa's Favorite Story: Hisako Aoki
A Christmas Bell for Anya: Chris & Evie Stewart
The Legend of the Candy Cane: Lori Walburg*
The Light of Christmas: Richard Paul Evans
Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest: Dan Farr*
Merry Christmas Stinky Face: Lisa McCourt*
Snowmen at Night: Caralyn Buehner*
Christmas Day in the Morning: Pearl S Buck*
A Christmas Dress for Ellen: Thomas S. Monson*
Olive the other Reindeer: Seibold and Walsh
The Polar Express: Chris Van Allsburg*
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey: Susan Wojciechowski*
The Animals' Christmas Eve: Gale Wiersum
Twas the Night Before Christmas: Clement C. Moore*(I currently own four different copies of this all from different illustrators...find your favorite)
*Denotes an activity or special treat to correlate :)

You will notice that this is not a complete list.  I have just put our family's favorites...the ones that if we left them out, it just wouldn't feel like Christmas. 

I have been worried that maybe some of my kids are getting too old, but when I pulled down the box of books, my oldest son was right there with the others asking which ones we were doing first, and "Please can it be How Murray Saved Christmas???!!!".

It is a tradition your family will love!
Merry Reading

1 comment:

  1. I've been researching books at Amazon for something like this, it is so great to see your suggestions and I LOVE the wrapping idea. You are such a creative mom. Thanks!


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