With just a few more weeks until December first, I’m starting to get things ready for our annual Christmas book countdown. This simple, yet meaningful tradition is one that my children love and look forward to each year. As a mom and book lover, I’m absolutely thrilled that this special tradition centers around reading!
We have many fond family memories of snuggling up on the couch and reading Christmas books by the light of the Christmas tree each year. I love that this tradition brings a bit of calm to the craziness of the holiday season. It gathers our family together at the end of each day, fosters connections and creates special memories.
A little bit about our Christmas Book Countdown
Through the years I’ve slowly added Christmas books to our collection. We borrow them from the library before we buy to make sure we’ll really love them first. Near the end of November I pull our Christmas books out of storage and wrap them up to be place under the Christmas tree in a special basket/container. We start our countdown on December first and the youngest child gets to open the first book. Each night before bed – pajamas must be on and teeth brushed first – we take turns opening that days book and then read it together as a family.
When wrapping our books I label each package with the number 1 through 24 so we know which book is to be opened each day. Some years I’ve written numbers on the wrapping paper with a black sharpie, other years I’ve gotten a little more adventurous. We always read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve so that one is the last book we open. Before we’d collected 24 Christmas books of our own, I would wrap up library books to be opened near the beginning of our countdown so that they could be returned to the library ASAP.
This doesn’t need to be an expensive tradition. You can use what books you have and purchase a book or two each year to slowly add to your Christmas collection.
If you’re looking for some book recommendations, here’s a list of 50 fabulous Christmas books that all got my kids stamp of approval last year! Included in this list are some of our family’s absolute favorites – Stickman, The Jolly Christmas Postman, The Crippled Lamb, Snowmen at Christmas and Dream Snow to name a few.
What are some of your family’s most loved Christmas books? Books you remember reading as a child? I’d love to hear in the comments. Do you do a Christmas book countdown at your house too?
Oh how I love Christmas books! I think I remember a similar post last year, and I may have told you my favorite was Snow Men at Night. Makes me laugh every time.
I love this idea! My kiddo’s are just 1 and 2, but I think I’m going to start this tradition. Thank you for sharing and than you for sharing some of your favorite Christmas books. Can’t wait!
Morgan Molitor says
I love this!!
Morgan Molitor says
I love this!!
Courtney Sweet says
My daughter was born Dec 2nd (and just a bit over a month early) so we weren’t ready for a book countdown, but this year we are! And, definitely will be borrowing from the library as we grow our collection. Thank you, thank you for sharing your book lists – I also used your fall book list as a guide in October!
One, of my favourite Christmas books is the Polar Express – we had the cutest older lady come and read it to us at my school and she made every single child a bell necklace.
Yes, this will be our 3rd year with our Christmas book tradition! I think this year we finally have 24 of our own books. 😉 My kids (age 4 & 5) LOVE it, as do I! =)
Natalie Pozniak says
I just love this idea! I cannot wait to start shopping to start this tradition with my son!
I love Great Joy, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, A Christmas Carol, Christmas Day in the Morning, and many others.
bettijo @ PagingSupermom.com says
I love this tradition! I’ve just worried I wouldn’t have enough Christmas books… but I supposed we could just do from 12 days out as well?? Fun!!
Rebecca, I love love love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing it! One of our favorite books to pull out is The Sweet Smells of Christmas by Patricia Scarry. It’s a scratch and sniff book that really brings back memories for me and my boys both enjoy it too. Also Polar Express and a little board book called Christmas in the Manager. Thank you again!
I found this idea around the web but without wrapping the books.. Your way is better! Unfortunately I live in Italy and our library doesn’t have so many English books which means that I have to buy them all! Or read half in English and half in Italian..
I love this idea! We have so many Christmas books and this would be a great way to read them. My girls are older now, 12 and 14, but I think they would love this! We love Snowmen at night, Grinch
Kim M. says
We did this with our kids when they were growing up. They are now starting families of their own and carrying on the tradition. I LOVE it. My brother and his family also gave us a new book each year as a gift to add to our collection. Another way to add to a collection quickly, is to purchase books through the kids’ school book program–like Scholastic–in paperback, until you can replace them with hardcovers. We’re continuing the tradition with our youngest, and have added a few of your suggestions. They’ve all be great. Thank you!
This is one fabulous idea!!!! I can’t wait to someday have kids to do this! Maybe I can incorporate this somehow as a singleton:)
A SPICY PERSPECTIVE says
Such a sweet idea, and so pretty!
Mique (as in Mickey) says
I love this tradition so much Rebecca. And the packaging is fantastic as ever!!
Love this. I, too, put the Christmas books away and bring them out for Christmas only. Makes them more special. I usually just display them on the bookcase and have the kids choose one. May have to try this, this year. I do it for Easter, too!
Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says
I LOVE this!
Paul and Linda says
“Star of Melvin” (out of print, but so-o-o worth finding !), “The Tall Book of Christmas” which has a lot of short stories which are just enough for the under 3 set, and “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” (already mentioned so this is a second to that nomination !)
Hi! I just came across your list but the printing link is not working.. It’s opening a list of favorite fall books… Which is useful anyway!! I love your blog!
Hmmmm…let me see if I can get that fixed Barbara. Thanks for letting me know the link isn’t working! 🙂
Perfect! Now it’s working!! Let the Christmas books shopping begin! Thanks again… I’m Italian and I’m trying to approach my daughters to English by reading only English books and finding ideas is not that easy… So your book lists are so useful!!
Such a lovely idea! Just a thought — families could use pieces of cloth OR reusable gift bags for each book. Then the packaging could be re-used for Christmas gifts or saved for the following year. We don’t use wrapping paper because of the environment, but no reason to let that stop us from such a meaningful tradition!