It’s been a few years since I’ve started our advent tradition (You can find my past lists here and here). The kids look forward to it every December now, along with the arrival of their elf, Locker. I’ve tied them both the advent and the elf together; Locker comes the night before the advent starts, and the kids get a small bag with Christmas themed items (last year it was an ornament for the tree, a Christmas pencil, notepad, and candy cane with a little note from Locker about his job). True fact: We may have two elves now because we may have misplaced the other one, and of course, two weeks after Christmas the first elf was located. No, I won’t bombard you with a list of crazy things to do with your elf. Have you seen the lists on Pinterest? I’m exhausted just by looking at some of them! If I’m telling the full truth, you should know I barely remember to move it 24 times during the month. I cannot tell you how many times last year Locker stayed in the same spot and we had to make up a snow storm to keep him from his nightly run back to the North Pole. The only reason I keep doing it, year after year is that a) it does help with the level of crazy oozing from the kids during the month of December , and b) the kids adore it.
Don’t shame me for being an Elf house, please?
Last year, I added a new tradition- The Christmas Book advent. I got the idea from Jenna from Stop, Drop and Blog a couple years ago, but didn’t manage to get myself organized to do it until last year (Since she’s been at this for longer than I, she has a way more extensive list of books for this). I didn’t anticipate that I would struggle to find 24 books, and yet, I did. We’re a non-religious home, and you’d be surprised at the amount of books that are seemingly non-religious but sneak in a sentence or two that has no relevance to the story and wind up making the book incredibly religious.
For this reason, and another that I’ll talk about in a second, I only wound up with 12 books. It wasn’t a travesty, especially since it was the first year I’d done it with the kids. They had no idea that it was supposed to be every day so it didn’t throw them off by only having a book to open up every other day. The other reason I wound up with only 12 books last year? It does take a mild investment to start this tradition. For instance, I’m buying the remaining 12 this year, and it’s going to cost me, even with free shipping (Thank you, Chapters Indigo!) and a mild discount for being a Plum Rewards member: $162.00. Keep in mind, I am buying these books brand new. The cost could definitely be much lower if you searched out second hand book stores throughout the year (the closest one to me is over an hour a way, unfortunately). Those book orders they send home? They start putting Christmas books in them around October, and sometimes the deals are pretty awesome. You could even do it with library books, and that would cost you absolutely nothing! There are ways to do this advent for much cheaper than I have, so don’t let my costs sway you.
Each book is individually wrapped up, and displayed in a small cardboard box that I also wrapped in Christmas paper. I slipped it into a corner of the room, reachable for the kids. Every other evening, the kids would take turns picking out which book they wanted to open. I have to tell you, having these books around, especially as it got closer to Christmas was so great. You know how kids get into that OMG OPEN ALL THE PRESENTS TOUCH, TOUCH, POKE! phase around the 15th of the month? Yeah, this helped deflect that immensely. They knew they had their regular advent, and then a book to open every other day. It kept the Present Monster at bay, and gave us a nightly bedtime story as well.
Here’s a small taste of the books we added last year, or at least, the ones that wound up being favorites for both the adults and kids.
The Night Before Christmas (there are so many variations of this poem with beautiful artwork!)
Finding Christmas (we love us some Robert Muncsh in this house!)
This year I’m adding Pete the Cat Saves Christmas because Girlie loves her some Pete the Cat, this great series by Steve Smallman which showcases several Canadian cities, The Smallest Gift Of Christmas, and a whole bunch more that I can’t wait to actually read.
As an avid reader myself, it’s so important for me to integrate the love of story telling, especially at this time of year when stories seem to be a little more magical than they usually are. I love the fact that during this chaotic season, it also gives us an excuse to pause, and to soak in a new book together. It really is such a great tradition that I’m so exited to continue adding to as the years go by.
What’s your favorite holiday book? Do you have a holiday tradition involving books?