‘Tis’ the Season to be Jolly….and ridiculously busy. I make children’s learning toys, so the standard holiday bustle becomes complete chaos in my house. I feel like Santa Claus preparing for Christmas Eve. Since my business and family life blur in my home, I make sure that I plan time for my family to bond. I have always loved the Holidays, and my children are no exception as they are itching to put Christmas music on…in October. I love the special things we do together and all the little traditions that create the memories to last a lifetime.
This year I am going to be prepared for some organized chaos. This year, I have made preparations for a tradition I hope to carry through year after year: A Holiday Book Advent Calendar / Christmas Countdown.
I have seen these done while perusing “Advent Calendars” on the internet in the past. With my love of books, and wanting to engage my children in early literacy, I knew this would be a great holiday tradition. So I set out to make fabric gift bags for this very special, yearly extravaganza. The teacher in me has a lesson plan / project idea for each and every book (or group of books). And I am so excited to carve out a little piece of everyday to engage in some meaningful memory-making with my family.
Here are the bags I made. If you aren’t crafty, you can use pillow cases from the dollar store and tie them up with string. Or you can wrap the books and attach numbers to the paper. I really wanted them to be fabric, so we could use them every year….Our Christmas is always a bit “tropical” and these fabrics fit the bill perfectly. I cut out and appliqued numbers and cute characters on about half of them…just to make them extra special. We are planning to leave the empty bags under the tree after we open them so Santa can use them instead of wrapping paper for some of our gifts. I love the idea of reusing these handmade creations in a green way for Christmas.
So now for what’s inside. Each bag contains a book or two (or maybe even three). And each theme corresponds to a particular project for us to do together as a family. It can be an art project; a craft; an activity like decorating the tree, watching a movie, going caroling, or baking cookies. Every day we are going to read what we find inside and live it in some way.
I think I counted 45….so, as you can see, some of them will be doubled up. I tried to pair similar themed books together when I thought it was appropriate. How do you have so many Holiday themed books, you may ask. Well, to be honest, I bet you have more in your library than you would think. The others I purchased from thrift stores, online, or used books shops whenever possible. A great way to add to your collection is by going to the library.
Here is a list of the books that made our list last Christmas.
Tacky’s Christmas by Helen Lester
I’ve Seen Santa! By David Bedford
A Magical Christmas by Claire Freedman
Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg
I Want a Hippopotoamus for Christmas by John Rox
The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup
Disney It’s A Small World: Christmas Around the World by Calliope Glass
Baby Elf’s Christmas by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
Gingerbread Mouse by Katy Bratun
The Three Bears’ Christmas by Kathy Duval
Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood
Franklin’s Christmas Gift by Paulette Bourgeois
Jingle Bells by Kathleen Daly
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! By Dr. Seuss
Little Christmas Tree by Suzanna Ronchi
Queen of Christmas by Mary Englebreit
The Great Christmas Tree Celebration by Melissa A. Torres
Josie’s Gift by Kathleen Bostrom
It’s Christmas Time! By Salina Yoon
Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-up by Robert Sabuda
The Gift of Christmas by Christine Leeson
The Cat That Climbed the Christmas Tree by Susanne Santoro Whayne
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
A Merry Little Christmas: Celebrate from A to Z by Mary Engelbreit
The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book by Glenn Beck
Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown
Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini
Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Rick Bunsen
Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O’Connor
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Bernstein Bears and the Joy of Giving by Stan and Jan Bernstein
The planning stage is the most time consuming. But I have always been a bit of a collector. Last year, after the Holidays, during all those crazy sales, I stashed a few things I thought would be fun for this year. I have tied these projects in with the book themes whenever appropriate and have had a lot of fun shopping around at Dollar Spots, Craft Stores, and my own house for ideas on how to make our Season more magical.
This year I am prepared to help !! I have created a Countdown Calendar Template for you to download. You can download a BLANK one and fill it in with your own Books and Craft ideas or you can print the DONE calendar and go with the books and projects we will be enjoying this Season!
You can find more about the FREE calendar printout Here!