November 28, 2010

countdown to Christmas with books

I’m trying to catch my breath from getting back from Thanksgiving festivities, so here’s an oldie but goodie. Enjoy (again!)
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 we 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 our all-time favorites~you can read the reviews on Amazon and buy them there, or Ebay and Half.com are great resources as well!
The Sweet Smell of Christmas (*little note here: we had this when I was a kid and they don’t make the scratch and sniff stickers like they used to…we still love it though)
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.
 I still love recommendations from friends~What are your favorite Christmas books? I’ve discovered some great ones thanks to all of your suggestions~


65 comments:

  1. Oh, wow! That's such a cute idea. We don't have kids, but I'll have to remember that for when/if we have have them!

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  2. What a GREAT idea! I LOVE it, and I'm soooo doing this! Thanks Melissa :)

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  3. What a GREAT idea. Would have loved this when my son was young!

    Michelle

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  4. This is such a CUTE idea....am soo going to do this with my own children (when I have them anyway!!!)

    Gemma x

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  5. thanks for the idea. i read this on your blog a couple weeks ago. my stack is wrapped and ready to go. the little ones are pretty excited to get started. xo

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  6. Some of my favorites are Santa Mouse, Mr Willoughby's Christmas tree, Room for a Little One, Small One.

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  7. I am stealing your idea!!! My kids are going to love doing this!

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  8. I love this idea. I read about it last year on The Idea Room, but failed to collect enough books, but it is my goal to have enough for next year.

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  9. What a great idea! My girls are older now, but will tuck that away to pass along someday to them.

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  10. We love this tradition too! My son is only 3, so we're building our book collection. I think we've got about 22 this year. So excited to get started again and start reading some Christmas stories!

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  11. Elisabeth~I ordered Mr. Willoughby! I had forgotten about that one...thank you :)

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  12. What a great idea! My younger two boys would love this! I might have to *steal* this one.

    Gotta a question though, you aren't buying new books every year, just wrapping up ones you already have right?

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  13. Oh yes, same ones every year, but we like to add a new one every year. We may be wrapping two books together soon! :)

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  14. I love this idea! Can't wait until my daughter is a little older

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  15. An additional thought--- Go to your LIBRARY! They have awesome collections of Christmas books and most check out for 3 weeks, so you could return it after you've read it and get some more! Our Christmas book collection has grown beyond what is reasonable, but as we read and re-read the stories I'm never sorry I've hauled 3 tubs full of books up the basement stairs... :)

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  16. Inspiring Idea!
    Thanks so much!

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  17. Melissa, I was thinking about the library too lol. We go once a week, I'm a big believer in reading (which is why I probably love your idea so much). It's our nightly thing and if I skip it one night, because I'm exhausted or something my kids get so mad at me...even the older ones that can read still love being read to.

    Its also gotten to the point where if we're reading something they want to know what craft we are going to make to go with the book lol...ahh, I created some monsters, but in a good way :)

    Thanks again for the idea!

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  18. I have forwarded this idea to my kindergarten teaching friends.

    Your two year old would love
    Mouse's First Christmas by Lauren Thompson
    He/she can guess each riddle before turning the page.

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  19. We do the same thing, supplementing with books from the library, if necessary.

    I'd like to recommend, "Calico the Wonder Horse or the Saga of Stewy Stinker" by Virginia Burton (you know, Mike Mulligan, etc.) A rare gem, and a Christmas fave!

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  20. Such a fun sweet way to make memories together.

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  21. This is such a wonderful idea! I was sharing this with my husband and he thinks it will be a great tradition to start with our little ones. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  22. Thanks for sharing. What a great idea. I just ordered two of the book you recommended and each had many raving reviews. Though I did get a better pricing at Barnes and Noble.com on one of the used books so it might be worth comparing before "placing order." Merry Christmas

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  23. Christmas on Exeter Street was a favorite of mine, it has great illustrations

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  24. The library is a fantastic idea as you start building your collection. Grandparents love to give books as well ;) I have never been sorry that I purchased a good children's book. Angela~thanks for the tip about B&N..it pays to shop around!! Loving the suggestions...

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  25. Oh how I miss those days of reading to my little ones! What INCREDIBLE memories you are making for them - trust me, they will treasure those memories!!!

    ♥Lori

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  26. Love the idea! Totally copying it!

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  27. Neat idea, Melissa! :) We just read The Berenstain Bears visit Santa Bear (one of my childhood faves) and my girls love it.

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  28. We started this fun tradition last year per your suggestion and we absolutely loved it. My mother in law sends new Christmas books every year so we already had the collection we just found a cool way to really enjoy them. Thanks so much for posting this!

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  29. stop the world.

    this idea for a tradition is fabu-loso-licious.

    wha??

    yeah, i don't know.

    thank you for sharing this.

    the bugs and sunshine clan just got a new tradition, thank you.

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  30. What a fun tradition! One book I didn't see mentioned in the comments is The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree -- one of our all-time faves!

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  31. Fantastic idea !!
    I am going to use this with my class.......
    thanks !!

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  32. Ohhh- add christmas day in the morning by Pearl Buck (you can google itonline to read - has me in tears each time I read it

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  33. One of our favorites is " Hurry Hurry Have you Heard?" by Claire Freedmen

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  34. A wonderful idea to keep reading exciting! I have tons of books and have collected Night Before Christmas books forever ~ I could wrap up over 50 of those alone!! But one of our most favorite books is Peter Spier's Christmas. It is out of print I think, but worth searching for. It is wordless and follows a family of 5 through the holiday season. Our girls {age 31} loved to tell the story behind all of the pictures and our season resembled theirs remarkably. So much fun.
    Happy Christmas to you!

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  35. Okay, I need to stop. I justify buying because they are BOOKS, but these all look so good! I'm going to try the library and if we love them, we'll put them on the buy list...can't wait...I love finding good books we haven't discovered yet!

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  36. What a GREAT idea! I am sooo taking that one!! I also buy a Christmas book each year. One of our favorites is Mortimer's Christmas Manger :)

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  37. This is a fabulous idea. Thanks. A hilarious book that we love is How Murray Saved Christmas. We randomly picked it up from the library and had to buy it. I laugh every time.

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  38. I love Christmas books! Velvatine Rabbit (even though it makes me tear up) is a fave.
    Fun side story, my husband's great grandfather was the postman in a Christmas Dress for Ellen that braved the storm to deliever the family's gifts!

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  39. I love the book The Christmas Star by Elizabeth Raum.

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  40. Melissa,

    Love this topic. I'm going to share this idea with my sister-in-laws. My kiddos are too old
    :(, though we do still bring the picture books out.
    What about:
    The Bear Stays Up for Christmas (your little one would love this)
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (my hubby's tradition)
    The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
    The Best Christmas by Lee Kingman and illustrated by Barbara Cooney (this appears to be out of print, but it is so sweet!)

    We also read the Christmas chapters in each of The Little House on the Prairie books and Farmer Boy. We also read the entirety of The Long Winter every year around Christmas.

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  42. I just ordered "Humphfrey's First Christmas" for my grandchildren. It has a great moral to the story and the pictures are fabulous! One of my favorites!

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  43. Love this idea thanks! I especially loved the tip about half.com. I am a fairly new reader and I appreciate all of the coupons and great tips, thanks.

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  44. Great idea! I'm going to do this! I've never thought of that before and we love reading and of course everyone loves unwrapping! Thank you!!!

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  45. I LOVE this idea! I already told my husband about this and we are so doing this!! We love books too and we already read a book to the kids at bedtime and what a little extra something special to do (and it's like for FREE just the cost of wrapping paper!) BONUS!! The Berenstain Bears and the Give of Giving is a NEW favorite that I just read. Merry Christmas!!

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  46. We have done this with our kids in the past as well. They always looked forward to it and were better at keeping track as to who's night it was to open the book! LOL! They are 9 and 11 this year and while I still put the books out in the basket, they are unwrapped and we are reading The Autobiography of Santa Claus together...conveniently there are 24 chapters ;)

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  47. I have that same old Frosty book!

    I found this book called "A Special Place for Santa" by Jeanne Pieper last week at Hobby Lobby, but it's on amazon.com too.

    It ties in the Christ child and the Santa legend beautifully, and explores the historical roots of Santa. For any family who loves the Santa tradition, but also wants to keep the focus of Christmas on Christ, this book is a must!

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  48. I was sure I commented on here yesterday, but I don't see it. Two of our favorites are "The Night Tree" by Eve Bunting and "Brenda Brave Helps Grandmother" by Astrid Lindgren (1961 and kind of hard to find at a reasonable price)

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  49. Hi-

    I just posted about our Christmas Book Basket. Thought you might want to take a peak at the post as I list our favorite books. Perhaps you can find a new title to add to your basket.

    Here is the post:

    http://theintentionalhome.blogspot.com/2010/12/count-down-with-christmas-book-basket.html

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  50. oops. . and forgot to mention I linked to your post as well. Thanks!!

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  51. Hi Melissa! I'm one of your followers and I just wanted to let you know that I liked your Count Down to Christmas using books idea, so I started that with my family as well! It has been perfect! I blogged about it and I shared your link on my page! Thank you for the and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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  52. My family favorite is 'Santa Cows'.

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  53. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea! My daughter is 18 months, so this is perfect timing to start the tradition. Thank you! I already have a list of books that I want to buy.

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  54. We love "The Last Straw"

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  55. We have been doing this for years. I finally wised up a few years ago and started wrapping them before I pack them away each year. about 10 years ago I found a sleigh that the wrapped books all fit in so it comes out with the decorations. I also made tags with the date on them so I could sort of choose when certain books got opened, like nativity stories on Sunday and the youngest ones favorite on "his" day. I hang a baggie on the fridge and the kids pull the tags off each day and put it in the baggie so I only have to remake a few each year.

    Our very favorite books is SANTA CALLS by William Joyce. One of my favorites is A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES by Dylan Thomas, not for little kids though mine are starting to enjoy it as teens, when they were little my kids loved JINGLE BUGS, but I can't remember who wrote it. Since we love collecting only 24 get wrapped and the others are put on a low shelf in the living room so everyone can enjoy them throughout the season.

    The kids take turns opening the books each day, youngest to oldest, This is an easy way to have an advent calendar without trying to come up with treats each day for 4 kids!

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  56. WE read a Christmas book before bed every night in December but I never thought about wrapping them. Great idea! I'll definitely have to next year. My 2 favorites this year are A Pirate's Night Before Christmas (absolutely hilarious) and The Little Match Girl (I cry every time we read it).

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  57. Great idea- our favorites are Rocking Horse Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, and Who's Coming to Our House?

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  58. We love Pippin the Christmas Pig as well as Listen, Said the Donkey. Both make me cry every time we read them. I'll have to look for some of the others. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions!

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  59. Lisa Brill McHAle12/19/10, 1:59 AM

    check out ~ Adam Saves Christmas ~ by Benji Bennet. Great book .

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  60. My daughter has done this for her two children, and since she doesn't have that many Christmas books (yet), they go to the library and borrow lots of Christmas books and she wraps those up!
    I love "The Last Straw" by Paula McDonald.

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  61. melissa*320 sycamore1/7/14, 11:55 PM

    Thank you for the wonderful suggestions, Michelle! Just added them to my list.
    Melissa

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  62. What a great idea! My ex mil used to give us christmas books every christmas and I was always looking for a nice way to use them! A "surprise" christmas reading every night the month before christmas is great!!!

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  63. Before I acquired many books, I would wrap the ones I would check out from the library - I would put them on hold earlier in the previous month.  It's not about having a book to keep, but about having a tradition of reading together and a little surprise each night. 

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  64. I saw a cute idea to just sew little bags made out of Christmas fabric, so the books can just slide in and you can tie it with a scrap piece of fabric.  That way you can reuse them each year.  I thought it was a great idea, even though I saw it the day after I got all of our books wrapped. :)

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