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Book Advent

Book Advent

December 7, 2010

This is one of our favorite family traditions. Even with the kids that you would think are too old to enjoy it. I took this photo Sunday night.


The post I wrote years and years ago on my other long ago abandoned blog has disappeared. But basically, every year I wrap up all of our Christmas books and each night the kids get to unwrap one We read it by the candlelight of our Advent wreath while drinking hot cocoa. With marshamallows.

It is a magical way to end each evening. And surprisingly peaceful.

I have a huge assortment of books amassed over the many years that I have been a parent.

Today over at Cool Mom Picks my lovely friends have a list of 12 must-have Christmas books to begin your own collection. There are a few I don’t have that I will grabbing, too!

I am now off to the elementary school where I will be helping 22 kindergarteners make holiday t-shirts. I have heard rumors of fabric paint being involved. I am pretty sure this is why flasks were invented.

Posted by Chris @ 1:13 pm  

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  1. Erin says:

    That’s a wonderful holiday tradition. I have about half a dozen Christmas books and we enjoy reading them throughout December, including A Christmas Carol- I read a little of that every night leading up to Christmas.

    What are your favorites?

  2. Heather says:

    I love that. I will do that next year. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Kylie says:

    We do something similar, but I haven’t collected enough books yet for a whole advent. I’m working on it though, and the list you linked will help. My favourite Christmas story at the moment is Wombat Divine, by Mem Fox. It’s about a young wombat who wants desperately to be in the Bush Nativity play.

  4. Melissa@HomeBaked says:

    Thanks for sharing this idea! I’m positive we don’t have 24 Christmas books, but we might have 12. I might hit up the used book store in the coming year to fill out a collection for next year. Sooooo much better than chocolate Advent calendars (well, we might still have to do those, too).

  5. momzen says:

    Hi Chris. I remember you posting this idea a few years ago. It never really registered before. But this year I pulled out all of our Hanukkah books and wondered whether it was time to get rid of them… Now I see what to do instead. Sadly Hanukkah is almost over now. I need to make myself a reminder for next year. Ideally when it isn’t so ridiculously early. Thanks!

  6. Nicki says:

    I love your advent book tradition. It is a wonderful idea!!

    As for Kindergarteners and fabric paint, I can almost guarantee that’s why flasks were invented!

  7. Kerrie says:

    Lovely tradition…

    Our local bookshop is doing it too. Has books wrapped with numbers 1-24 on them arranged in a tree pattern on the wall. Each morning the day’s book is unwrapped and read at story time.

    The bookshop is also a cafe and the baristas line up the babycinos and mini muffins for the littles and lattes for the parents. It’s a lovely way to start the day.

  8. Old Bird says:

    “Even with the kids that you would think are too old to enjoy it.”

    You’re never too old to enjoy traditions. I think the older boys must surely like to see their younger siblings doing what they got to do and loving that they have a mom who didn’t just let that fall by the wayside with an excuse that there are too many this or too much that and it used to be so much easier.

    What a fabulous family you are. Seeing your kids with the gingerbread man overkill (how many gumdrops can balance on the head of an angel?) doing what kids ought to be doing in this season, made me smile. The hot chocolate, the Christmas stories, the reading together, just makes me know there is hope for this world.

  9. Casey says:

    What a fun tradition! I’ll have to remember that one when my boy is a little bigger!

  10. Deb says:

    I have to add the Gingerbears First Christmas. It was published by Current in the 1980’s and it is probably the most beloved of all the Christmas stories in this house.

    So much so that I keep trying to find old copies to give to my grown children as gifts.

  11. Jennifer says:

    I have 3 huge wicker baskets full of Christmas books that we love digging through. My kids are older now but still love to look through the books and share favourites with their younger cousins.

  12. Leslie mcmahon says:

    I borrowed this idea when you posted it a few years ago. My kids (11,8, and 5) love it. I pick up a few new ones each year at the after Christmas sales. Thank you for sharing such a good idea.

  13. Jill says:

    We do this too! I don’t wrap them (that would require way more organization than I am capable of although I love the idea), but I have a special Christmas bin for them and each night my kids pick out a few to read. I have about 30 that I’ve been collecting through the years also - garage sales are a GREAT resource! We read them in front of the tree and it’s become one of my favorite traditions!

  14. annieb says:

    awesome idea and great tradition for your kids to remember…

  15. Liz says:

    I love your tradition, marshmallows and all.

    Make sure you’ve got Olive the Other Reindeer in that list. It’s a keeper. (And thanks for the shoutout, lady.)

  16. Jenny Magic says:

    Have you heard of “The Texas Night Before Christmas?” It features “Santy” and his eight longhorn steers, etc. It’s the book we always read (and groan at!) on Christmas Eve. Now that you’re in Austin you must add it to your list!

  17. Brigitte says:

    Mine loves her Christmas books ANY time of year!

    Is that a “667, evil and then some” shirt in the background there? Kind of ironic mixed with such a beautiful tradition, but a shirt I’ve always coveted. ;-)

    Chris says: No, it is her girl scout troop number. Of course I want to know what lucky troop got 666 ;-)

  18. Monique says:

    I sent your wonderful blog to my daughetrs when I discovered it ..seems like years ago:

    They often send me a link to a post now:) Or ask me if I saw how cute one of your children was that particular day..

    This morning I had an email from my eldest daughter..( she’s a teacher and a mom to a very cute 2 yr old:)stepmom to two great children that are 10 and 8)…. telling me she just wrapped all her Christmas books.. and a link to you..

    I love the idea.. I think it’s wonderful when such special ideas are shared..You just created a new tradition in someone’s home..

    She’s read books to Noah since he’s born..every single night.. this will just make these books more special.
    Thank you and Happy Holidays to you and yours~

  19. Carolyn R (the other one) says:

    Marshalls had several of the books on the Cool Mom’s Pick list.

    But more importantly, what exactly was in YOUR flask and was puff paint involved?

    Carolyn…who doesn’t allow puff paint in her house since having to scrape it off her cherry dining room table earlier this year…they call me mom, the funsucker

  20. kelly says:

    We started doing this 3 years ago when I first read about it from you! I will admit that hot chocolate is not always involved…and I haven’t yet pulled together an advent wreath….so really it’s just unwrapping & reading a book. Thanks for the idea. My kids love it!

  21. elizabethk says:

    that 666 thing is so stupid - kinda like NO 13th floor — oooh, ohhh! disliker of superstitions. :P

    I DID the wrapping of the books this year, the only problem two books were so poorly written, and one was an old Sesame Street Christmas book …I had bought a few books over the years and - yep, never read them myself! So thanks for the ideas on more books…I too love this wonderful (new to us) tradition. I remember you writing about it years ago - and then thought you were remarkable for wrapping so MANY books, and here - I went and did it this year - finally! :)

    Thanks Chris for your delightful blog!!

  22. stephanie tanner says:

    Do you have “How Murray Saved Christmas”? It’s my favorite holiday book! And I celebrate Hanukkah!

  23. Corin says:

    I love this idea!! I’m going home tonight to steal it. I also immediately ordered a copy of “A Pirates Night Before Christmas”. My 3 yr old LOVES pirates and will think this book is the best thing ever. Thanks so much for sharing!

  24. jodi says:

    I read that post you wrote long ago and adopted that same tradition with my kids. I never knew how much we all loved it until this year. We had a house fire in April and while the books survived the fire, our house is not yet finished and they are still in storage. We are missing our Christmas books this year! :(