A New Advent Tradition That Might Actually Work For Our Family

This year we’re trying a new Christmas tradition at my house.  At least I hope it will become a tradition.  We’ll see how it goes….

In years past I’ve tried various Christmas countdowns–Advent calendars and Jesse trees and the like–and they’ve just not clicked for our family.  The daily activity always seemed like one more thing to get done instead of a meaningful way to prepare for Christmas.

But our whole family loves to read–even the baby–and a nightly story is already part of the bedtime routine.  So this year, my husband and I wrapped a gigantic pile of Christmas books (most of which we already own) and we’re putting them under the tree tonight.  Starting December 1, we’ll unwrap one every night, until Christmas Day.  This will be our Christmas countdown.

The challenge with a literary countdown for my family is the range of ages:  the baby is one, but my oldest is nearly 9, so this list includes quite a few board books, but some chapter books, too.

I’m not crazy about every one of these books; there are definitely some I’d like to replace.  But we have 25 to open without shelling out tons of cash or clearing out the “holiday” section at the library, so I think we’re off to a good start.

What are your favorite Christmas books?  Which ones should I add to my list?

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0395389496/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=themodemrsdar-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=0395389496″>The Polar Express</a>

Comments

  1. says

    I LOVE this idea! Adding that to the “If we ever have kids” list of ideas, for sure! I grew up with stacks of Christmas books and I still have them all. Some of my favorites were:

    “The Littlest Angel” (http://www.amazon.com/Littlest-Angel-Charles-Tazewell/dp/0824955757/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322656189&sr=8-1)

    “The Most Important Christmas” (which seems to be out of print, but Amazon has some through other sellers: http://www.amazon.com/Most-Important-Christmas-James-Nelesen/dp/0570041104/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322656254&sr=1-1)

    And a new favorite is “The Jolly Christmas Postman” (http://www.amazon.com/Jolly-Christmas-Postman-Allan-Ahlberg/dp/0316127159/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322656316&sr=1-1)

    I’ve always loved “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” – good stuff!

  2. says

    I love this idea. Our kids are teenagers (and would only roll their eyes at this) so maybe with the next kid. Definitely something to file away for later.

  3. says

    I love this idea! The Gift Of The Magi is my fave — it’s actually free for kindles on amazon right now.

    We’ve been reading the Night Before Christmas to my 3 yo DS every night this week (by his request, but I’m happy to oblige). The only problem is all of the pictures of Santa and toys get him too hyped up before bed. I think we’ll switch to the Polar Express tonight!

    I don’t think I can pull this together this year, but I’ll have to keep it in mind for next year.

  4. says

    I love this idea! Here’s a couple more ideas for books. I bought these for my niece and nephew this Christmas. They are about K-1 level.
    On This Special Night by Simon Mendez
    The Christmas Baby by Marion Dane Bauer
    The Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene
    Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving: A Christmas Story by Howard Binkow

    • says

      Rats! Hit Submit before I was done.

      I was going to say that one of my old favourite is the compilation of short stories “Christmas with Anne” by LM Montgomery. The publisher put together all of her short stories about the Christmas season into a book and I always like to dip into it a bit during the Christmas season – it would only be a read-aloud for a bit older children of course.

  5. Kate says

    We’ve always enjoyed the book a night tradition during the Christmas season. There is a lovely set of Little Golden books that can help pad out the Christmas selection. I also second Carrie’s recommendation of the Littlest Angel, which always makes me cry, and the Jolly Christmas Postman, which is a lovely book with activities to go with most pages.

    Another tradition that we started last year and absolutely LOVE is listening to an episode of the 1930s radio show The Cinnamon Bear. It is an adventure story with Crazy Quilt Dragons and Looking Glass Mountains and a search for the missing Silver Star. We listen to an episode a night, finishing on Christmas Eve. You can find links all over the internet, but this site also has the original coloring book from the 1940s.

    hhttp://www.cinnamonbear.co.uk/download.htm

  6. says

    Love this idea. Will do a modified version this year, and jump in next year. Just reserved a bunch of books at our library. Will save money that way. I also like Great Joy by DiCamillo.

  7. Evie says

    I LOVE this! I think I will copy. I have been feeling like we should do something advent-y since my boys are excited about Christmas this year, but don’t quite get it yet. (They think it is an object, as in “Look mama, there’s Christmas” when they see a tree or a Santa Clause). I think they’re even little enough that they won’t notice if I rewrap books and use them again, so I don’t need to find as many. Thanks for the great idea!!

  8. says

    I LOVE THIS IDEA! hmmm… i wonder if i wrapped up all of the books i’ve been wanting to read, maybe i’d actually read them? and shut up about the lulu lemon store in louisville. definitely checking that out SOON.

  9. Hannah @ Lovely Woods says

    Great idea. I know what you mean about needing to find a tradition that preserves your family’s sanity and simplicity.

    My recommendations are:
    Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo
    The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden

  10. says

    I love “Woodrow Kennington Works Practically a Miracle” by Katherine Paterson, a hilarious short story about sibling rivalry and Christmas magic. Your younger kids might not appreciate it yet, but a 9-year-old would. You’d want to read it in advance to note the couple places where you’ll want to say “heck” instead vs. the place where they are actually talking about Hell. It’s in several different short story anthologies.

  11. says

    You and your older kids will love Jostein Gaarder’s Christmas Mystery if you want to keep the books down to a single one next year in Advent – the story is very clever and runs backwards into history at the same time as a small boy goes on a geographical journey from Norway to Bethlehem following a lamb with a bell round its neck, with a chapter a day for 24 days. My girls loved this and demanded it year after year…

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Book Advent Calendars! (Mentioned here and here.) Basically you wrap Christmas-themed books and you open one each night to read. This is [...]

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