countdown to Christmas with books




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Rabbit!
In honor of the first day of December, I wanted to share a family tradition:
a countdown to Christmas with books.

We love Christmas books and love reading them together. I wrap 25 books and number them, and each night we unwrap a book and read it together. Some are funny, some are silly, some are classics, and some are so touching they make me cry every time. It doesn't matter if we get back home super late or how crazy the day has been, it's just a great way to quietly finish each of the nights before Christmas. Plus, what a great incentive for getting teeth brushed and jammies on quickly so we can unwrap a book! :)
On Christmas Eve you can unwrap the scriptures to read the accounts of Christ's birth.



I love to buy a new Christmas book each year to add to our collection. A few of my all-time favorites:
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
The Legend of the Candy Cane
Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect
The Sweet Smell of Christmas
The Polar Express
A Christmas Dress for Ellen
The Jolly Christmas Postman

I have to keep the wrapped ones in my room, since I have a little almost-2 year old that loves to rip them open, but they are so fun to have under the tree if you can. I've got to finish wrapping and numbering the rest, but it really only takes a half hour to do it all. The kids do not care about the wrap job. Maybe during nap time today....
And if you don't have 25 books, just take the ones you have, and you can start any date you want. You can just stash them in your room and just wrap one in a blanket each night as well. Paper grocery bags stapled shut work~kids just love to rip open.
Oldie but Goodie: first posted 12/08
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I love recommendations from friends~last year I got The Last Straw by Fredrick H. Thury , recommended by Wendy and Toot and Puddle I'll be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie recommended by Holly. We can't wait to read them this year~
Half.com, Ebay, and Amazon are great resources to get used books inexpensively.
What are your favorite Christmas books? I need some good recommendations to be on the lookout for this year~
Happy December!

64 comments:

  1. What a great great idea!!! My son is only ten months, so right now we're really into ripping books, but I think I'll start purchasing this year so that maybe next year we can read. Maybe. But it is a super fun idea!!!

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  2. What a wonderful tradition. I will share this with my daughter and her family!

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  3. What a great idea to wrap the books!

    We love Dear Santa: The Letters of James B. Dobbins by Bill Harley. Funny and sweet!

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  4. That is the cutest idea ever and what a great tradition!

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  5. This is such a great idea! I am going to start this tradition with the few Christmas books I have. I will add one new book each year. :)

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  6. I don't even have kids yet, but I will definitely be stashing this idea! I LOVE childrens books, especially Christmas ones! Thanks,
    Ramsey

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  7. This is such a wonderful idea. Even though my children are in the teen years, I would love to think that they would enjoy sitting around every night together as a family reading a Christmas book.

    One of our favorites is The Tale of The Three Trees by Angela Hunt.

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  8. Such a sweet tradition! I love The Legend of the Candy Cane. And The Crippled Lamb is one of my favorites, too. I still get the books out, even though my boys are too old for me to read to them (I'd still do it, but teenagers just roll their eyes at the thought). I have sweet memories, though, of how my youngest would always look up at me instead of down at the page as we reached the poignant parts of the stories--he knew just when I would cry!

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  9. So fun to collect and read Christmas books...mine have been read over and over to kids and grandkids now...we keep adding to the stack with a new book every year. Thanks for sharing you idea!

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  10. I read this post last year and started the tradition with my son. It was great! It's really the only way he lets read aloud to him anymore now that he is an independent reader! I always look forward to reading Christmas Magic. I can't find my numbers from last year, so I told him he could just pick a package each night! Thanks for the great idea and the start of a family tradition!

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  11. One both my students and own children enjoyed was Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree (sorry I don't have the author's name). It's a very cute rhyming book about a tree that is too big for the house. Each character does something to the tree to make it fit.

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  12. What a great tradition. I would love to borrow it if you don't mind. With two small munchkins we've been trying to start more traditions in our own family and this one sounds perfect. A friend of mine reads a different book each night, but I like wrapping them up and I love the idea of wrapping the scriptures up on Christmas Eve. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. what a nice thing to do each night and a great tradition to start.. wish my little ones were still little.. maybe with grandkids one day.

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  14. The Little Match girl is a very touching story. I guess there is a kids version and then a full story that is a little more indepth. My sister has read both and says the kids version is great for kids and that the full story is so wonderful but a little hard on kids. Love this idea! I think I may be starting a new tradition tonight!!! Thanks!

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  15. I do this too. I love the idea. we opened one last night and my daughter said hey we already have that book. I just laughed.

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  16. What a great idea! A book I purchased last Christmas season that I really love is, "And Then In A Twinkling" by Becky Kelly. I bought it at Seagull Book in Utah on a promotion for $2.00. I checked and Amazon has it used for as little as .10!! It is very short but contains the true message of Christmas with beautiful illustrations. I bought one for everyone in my family last year. I love your blog and look at it every day, but seldom leave a comment. You are an inspiration! Merry Christmas!!

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  17. I love this idea, I decorate with seasonal books in a basket and my kids never tire of them! Thanks for sharing!

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  18. I love children's books by Max Lucado - The Crippled Lamb and Jacob's Gift are two great ones for Christmas.

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  19. Dream Snow by Eric Carle, Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff are a few of our favorites. School book orders are a great way to get inexpensive holiday books and help out teachers at the same time. Thanks for the idea of wrapping the books, we have never tried that before. What a fun idea.

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  20. What a great tradition! I don't have kids yet but this is a great idea to file away for when I do have them.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  21. Don't know if you have this one but it is a great book - The Cobweb Christmas by Shirley Climo. I even found a spider ornament for the tree.

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  22. I love this tradition! My kids would love this.

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  23. What a fantastic idea!!! I am going to for sure start this tradition! Thanks so much!!!!!

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  24. I hope you enjoy Toot and Puddle! Holly Hobbie's illustrations are so pretty.
    Julie mentioned Mr Willoughby's Christmas Tree; we like that one too.

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  25. What a great idea. I love books and we love to read. Right now I am reading A Christmas Carol to the kids. It's one of my favorites. We have read many of the books on your list when the kids were little. I miss those days.

    Ruth

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  26. We are adopting your tradition. I bought my Christmas books on Craigs List and I am so excited!

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  29. We just started doing this last year. We don't quite have 25 books, so we are slowly collecting them. I'll be on the look out for the ones that you mentioned.

    The Polar Express is one of my favorite books ever :)

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  30. I love this idea and do it every year with my 4 year old. I wrap regular books and on 12/24 he opens Twas The Night Before Christmas and we read it with some warm cocoa. So much fun for the kiddos!

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  31. What a sweet, sweet idea - I love this take on an advent calendar :) My son is 18 months and last year we decided we were going to buy a new version of the Night Before Christmas each year... but I think I like your idea better!

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  32. I love this idea! I'm going to display all my Christmas books that we already own and place them under the tree in a basket.

    All my boys love to read and this is a strategy I've used for years. Place books around that you think they might be interested in, and sure enough when they can't think of anything to do, they will pick up one of those books and read, read, read.

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  33. such a sweet tradition!

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  34. Neat tradition!!! I LOVE the Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree. It was my favorite when I was a little girl. Stan & Jan Berenstain do beautiful illustrations. This particular one rhymes. :)

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  35. This is a favorite tradition at our house too. My five year old is so excited to open the first one tonight. I'd share my favorites, but I can't for the life of me remember the titles. Sheesh! If they come to me, I'll let you know.

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  36. What a fabulous tradition! I think I may have to start this! The photos are gorgeous.

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  37. Love this idea! I don't have 25 books yet, but I think I may do the 12 days of Christmas. I love the book, Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear! Don and Audrey Wood (I love all of their books!) Thanks for the idea love your blog.

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  38. The Mole Family's Christmas...who doesn't love cute little nearsighted moles combined with the spirit of giving. Also, Santa Cows. And Jay Jay's Christmas is still a big hit though my kiddos are past the preschool tv stage.

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  39. Love it, love it, love it! I teach 1st grade and love books, I can't wait to do this with my own children. Some of my favorite winter books are Santa Mouse, Snowmen at Christmas, Where Did They Hide My Presents? (silly dilly Christmas songs), Time to Sleep,and the Gingerbread Cowboy.

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  40. This is our first year to do this! I have most of the books wrapped and in their basket! Can't wait to see what the kiddos think - they love anyone reading to them!!
    I didn't have quite the amount of books I needed per day, so I'll be checking some out from the library, when I wrap them I'll be sure to put an L and the date they must be returned by :) That will save a few pennies and I should have a pretty good variety of books to choose from :)

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  41. I love this idea! Now if only I had 25 x-mas books! But Andrea had a good point, to check some out from the library, I should definitley add this to my x-mas traditions.

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  42. I do this in my classroom with books for Hanukkah, Los Posadas, St. Lucia Day, Christmas and Kwanzaa. It's so much fun!

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  43. I ADORE this idea!! I always put out our Christmas books, but what a fun new way to use them!! May have to start that with the 12 days of Christmas... love your blog!! Merry Christmas!!

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  44. I so love this idea! I buy my boys Christmas books each year, but the idea or unwrapping one each night - fantastic! Some of my favorites include that you didn't mention: "The Crippled Lamb" by Max Lucado and "The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree" by Gloria Houston.

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  45. That is an AWESOME IDEA!! I will have to do this!- Sheila

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  46. This is a new tradition at our house too, and I just posted about it yesterday! :) You've got some great books! The Sweet Smell of Christmas is one of my favorites....my mom read it to us when we were little, and we've got a copy to read to our son now.

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  47. I did this last year and it was a hit. I just went to the library and put most of the ones you mentioned on hold. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  48. Oh my goodness..the suggestions! I love it~I'll be making a big list for next year. And I love the idea of using the library~then, if you really love it you can go ahead and buy them. Thanks y'all~keep them coming!

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  49. Mr Willoughby's Christmas Tree, and Santa Mouse are some of my favorites. I like Small One too. The Holly and the Ivy is good, and the Little Match Girl.

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  50. This is such a great idea! My husband and I don't have any children yet but I am going to start buying books this year. I can't wait to do this with our own children.

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  51. I love this idea! Why can't I ever get it together in time to do this? But I guess it's not too late, right? Hmmm, I don't know if I have enough books for the entire month. I may have to do a run to the bookstore.

    Great idea!

    XOXO
    Jen

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  52. Hi - I took the plunge and did this last night! It really did not take long at all. About 40 minutes to wrap all of them and about a half hour of searching all the bookcases in the house on the sly. The shocker to me was I already owned 21 Christmas books!! Picked up 2 last night at Dollar Tree and will pick up 2 more sometime soon. The kids LOVED it! My recommendation is The Littlest Angel. I can hardly read it without crying, it is so sweet.

    Thanks for sharing the idea!
    Marty

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  53. I love that idea! Wish I would have started it when my kids were really little. They are 5 and 7 now. Still young enough. But don't know how many more years they would want to do that.

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  54. Oh, that is a great idea!! And the wrapping adds a little Christmas thrill. :)

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  55. My kids are older now, but we still keep a crate of Christmas books in the family room. We have also gotten one a year or as gifts. They range from Golden Books to big and beautiful!
    The Littlest Angel (Tazawell) Rocking Horse Christmas (Mary Pope Osborne)Jolly Old Santa Claus (Hinke) The Small One (Disney). I love the wrapping idea-I'll save it for grandkids!
    ~Nancy

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  56. What a special tradition that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. As many people have mentioned - Max Lucado's Christmas books for children are extremely touching. I love The Crippled Lamb.

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  57. We love reading "The Three Trees" every Christmas. Love this idea!

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  58. We love reading "The Three Trees" every Christmas. Love this idea!

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  59. My all time favorite Christmas book is Christmas Day in the Morning, by Pearl S. Buck. It's also worthwhile to check out Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, poem by Robert Frost, illustrations by Susan Jeffers. Through her illustrations she puts a Christmas twist on the familiar poem hinting at the traveler being Santa.

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  60. I absolutely LOVE this idea!! I am definitely going to start this tradition with my 4 yr old son. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

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  61. I LOVE this idea! I put our Christmas books away during the year and bring them out at Christmas. I have them scattered under teh tree right now. I also put the Christmas movies up during the year too. I will have to count the movies. Maybe we could alternate a book and a movie for 25 days. What a great idea!!

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