I love advent calendars. They are the concrete anticipation of Christmas for kids and adults alike. Even though my kids enjoy opening the numbered door for each day, in my house I began to notice that things were becoming less than holy.
Soon it became all about whose turn it was. Or who got the little piece of chocolate. Or opening the wrong number. There was no family togetherness, instead it became a battle. This was not what I wanted advent to look like.
I knew that I wanted advent to be a time of family togetherness and for us to focus on the meaning of the season as we counted down the days. Thus began 24 days of Christmas Books.
The premise is simple: Each day your family reads one holiday-themed book together. 10 minutes a day is all it takes. As my family started the tradition, we found it was no longer about cardboard calendars. Now it was about what really mattered.
Beginning on December first, my kids find a basket in the living room filled with Christmas books, however they are off limits until we read them together. (If you are so inclined, you can even gift wrap each book to open one a day.)
I’ll warn you, it’s a lot of books, so we use our library and slowly build our collection by one or two books a year. Make sure to plan early so you get the books you want. Another great surprise is to invite another family member to read. Grandparents or aunts or uncles are fantastic for this, and even if they live far away, you can Facetime or Skype the book reading.
24 Days of Christmas Books is a great way to spend time together during the busy holiday season. Here are some of our favorites to get you started.
by Charles Tazewell
This is a precious story about a young angel searching for the perfect gift for Jesus. Make sure to get the edition illustrated by Paul Micich, it is stunning.
by Susan Wojciechowski
A tender story about how we can spread joy to even the hardest of hearts.
by Gloria Houston
A family in a small Appalachian town seeks to hold onto Christmas traditions while the father is away.
by Colleen Monroe
All the animals of the forest help the lonely pine that feels passed over at Christmas.
by Carol Heyer
The journey of the wise men told from the point of view of the camels carrying the gifts.
by Lori Walberg
A sweet reminder of what the candy cane represents for all of us.
by Dandi Daley Mackall
The story of giving during the holiday season, and it includes a cookie recipe to try!
by Kate DiCamillo
A favorite children’s author tells a sweet story about a girl, an organ player, a monkey, and joy.
by David Rubel
A perfect story to read when you watch the lighting of the Rockefeller Center tree, this story explores how we pay blessings forward through one sweet boy’s story.
by Chris Van Allsburg
A timeless favorite that will enchant even the oldest kids.
by Jan Berenstain
A fun story with our favorite bears that teaches kids how fun giving can be.
by Richard Paul Evans
Evans masterfully shows that the heart behind the gift matters more than what you have to give.
by Ruth Bell Graham
A beautiful rendition of the Christmas Story for young and old alike.
by Rick Osborne
This sweet story helps kids understand the meaning behind the Christmas stocking.
by Pearl S. Buck
Through a young boy we discover what the best gifts truly are.
by O. Henry
A classic tale that beautifully illustrates how to find the most special gifts of all.
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This book takes you on a journey to Christmas so many years ago.
by Dr. Seuss
No holiday book list would be complete without the classic story of the Grinch discovering what Christmas is really about.
by Clement C. Moore
A classic holiday poem, this story is one that will be repeated for years.
by Mary Lyn Rae
The perfect story about Christmas trees and the tender determination of two kids.
by Margaret Wise Brown
A sweet story of how an ordinary tree’s dreams come true.
by Lisa Tawn Bergren
The beautiful story of a little polar bear wondering if Christmas is about Santa or God.
by Max Lucado
Some cute little mice wonder how they fit into God’s great big story on the night Jesus is born.
by Patricia Polacco
An important lesson about tradition and giving is wrapped in this Christmas tale.
Do you have any special books that your family shares during the holidays? Share in the comments!
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