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Family Holiday Tradition: Christmas Book Advent Calendar

Family Holiday Tradition: Christmas Book Advent Calendar

While I’m definitely trying to keep things simple this holiday season, there is one new tradition I’m excited to start with Liam. I wanted to start some kind of Advent calendar/countdown but didn’t really love any of the options out there. From what I saw, all advent calendars either involved tons of candy, tons of crap knick knacks or the pressure of daily activities. I’m not opposed to any of those, it just seems like there’s already more than enough opportunities for each throughout the season. A friend told me about their tradition of a Christmas book Advent “calendar” and I immediately loved it. Each year, they simply wrap and number Christmas books and open one each night to read. You can see more details about the process (and some great book ideas) here. I really like the idea because it feels like an opportunity to do something together each night that is both Christmas-y and easily achievable. It also gives a great opportunity to share some of my and Brad’s favorite Christmas stories with Liam each year.

Of course, the biggest hurdle is actually acquiring the 25 Christmas books for the calendar. It seemed like a daunting and costly number at the start. Here are some ideas for that.

Mom and son reading The Book with no PIctures

Christmas Book Advent Calendar

1. Start with what you’ve got. When we first decided to do this, we went through the books we already had. Just combing through our personal library, we found we had 8 or 9 Christmas books lying around the house which gave us a great place to start.

2. Look for less expensive paperback sets. At our local Barnes and Noble we found some very reasonably-priced Christmas paperback book sets. They’re definitely not quite as fancy but the stories are still good and they go a long way to help round out the collection.

3. Scan used book stores, yard sales, etc. If you have a good used book store in your area, check out their selection. Off-season garage sales are another good source as are local book sales – our town library holds one each year and most books are on sale for less than a dollar.

4. Borrow from the library. Depending on how long your library lets you keep books, this may be a great option, particularly as a supplement while you build up your personal collection.

5. Splurge on the good ones. While we were all about keeping costs low, we realized that for the classics, it’s not always possible to find a good deal. For us it was worth it spend a little more to ensure we got some of our favorites like The Polar Express, The Grinch and a good version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

6. Build the collection each year. We still don’t have 25 books yet and probably won’t for at least another year or two. That’s okay – we want this to be an annual tradition so we’re okay with building up our collection over time. Even then, we imagine we’ll probably continually be swapping out books as Liam gets bigger and taste in books changes. To us, that’s part of the fun.

Christmas Traditions to StartLooking for more ideas for family holiday traditions? Check out my post on 11 Christmas Traditions to Start and share your own ideas in the comments area below.


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