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Christmas Books Advent

Hello Advent books.

Last year, I gathered all of our nativity, Christmas and winter themed books to create a simple advent activity for the kids. It was a huge success! (So much so that Schäfer is pretty disappointed we won’t be unwrapping a story each day this December since our books are in China.)

Step one: Gather books

Since we have no access to an English bookstore, I used whatever books we already owned. Some of them were snow themed, some were nativity focused and others were about the Christmas season.

We don’t do Santa or Elf on the Shelf so I stayed away from books of that focus.

Step two: plan the order of the books

Calendaring is the entire reason this advent activity actually worked.

First, I wrote down commitments we already had. On busy days, we needed to open a short book! Then, I printed off activities that I wanted to pair with specific books. If we had nothing else going on, it would be easy to unwrap a book, read it and do a small craft.

Step three: wrap. wrap. wrap.

There’s no seasonal wrapping paper around these parts so I used a local craft paper and had the kids paint numbers which I glued on top.

The kids LOVED opening a book each night!

It had been a year since they had seen any of the Christmas books so each one was exciting and new.

12 days down. 13 to go.

We left the books on our coffee table. They would have been really cute under the tree too, but since I should mop the floors everyday, I kept the books on the table.

Around day 19, Selah, age one at the time, finally figured out what was going on. Once, when I slipped away to start the laundry, Selah decided she was going to unwrap several books. Thankfully, I was able to re-wrap them.

Here’s a list of the books we used for our 2012 Advent.

(Some of them I LOVE and some of them I’d like to eventually replace.)

Nativity Books

There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve is one of my favorite books ever. It is so beautifully written. I found this book at Borders Bookstore in the clearance section after Christmas 2008.

I sang The Little Drummer Boy more than I thought humanly possible in one Christmas season. I absolutely love the artwork. Our copy is a board book which is nice for the little girls.

Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story was a new book for us this year. This book is by the same author as the The Jesus Storybook Bible. The book reflects on the way nature was anticipating the birth of Jesus.

My First Story of Christmas was also a new book this year. I remember very specifically on this evening, we had Schäfer’s co-op teacher over for a meal and Schäfer gave her the honor of unwrapping the book.

Christmas in the Barn was well received by our three-year-old and one-year-old.

Who Is Coming to Our House? was enjoyed by all the kids.

The Nativity was given to us in 2008 by Grandma Huckleberry. The kids all enjoy touching the small stuffed animals sewn on the top.

Christmas Themed Books

The Friendly Beasts is an old English carol that has been illustrated. I was not familiar the the carol, but found the words perfect for the Christmas season.

The Twelve Days of Christmas was a big hit with the kids. I love Jan Brett’s illustrations.

The Little Fir Tree was just ok. I think I had great expectations since it was written by Margaret Wise Brown.

One of Schäfer’s favorite book is Erik and the Christmas Horse so I made sure we opened it early in the month. I purchased this book years ago from a 2nd hand book dealer. The story is set in Sweden and shares many Swedish Christmas traditions.

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is a cute, fun story.

Christmas Day in the Morning was a real surprise for us. We LOVED it.

Jingle the Christmas Clown is set in Italy. I also bought this book from a used book store. I liked that it opened up conversations about how children around the world celebrate Christmas.

We were gifted this copy of The Gingerbread Man. I like that it’s easy enough for Schäfer to read.

Winter Books

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening is an amazing combination of poetry and sketches. Schäfer loved this! We read it almost everyday.

I bought The Snowman for Schäfer’s first Christmas in 2007. This year, it was my little one-year-old Selah who couldn’t out it down.

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies is a great book for Christmas season. When Miss. K visited, Schäfer and Sianna insisted that she open the book.

The Snowy Day is a classic. We have it in board book which is great for the littles.

We loved The Big Snow. (Sorry, amazon is not letting me link the pic.)

I bought One Winter’s Day in China. It’s a sweet story about a hedgehog who shares his hat, mittens and scarf.

The next five books are truly just what we had around the house to help complete our advent countdown.

I bought Snow Place Like Home for 25 cents in an after Christmas sale at Hallmark.

Selah (1) and Sianna (3) loved One Mitten. After The Little Drummer Boy, it was Selah’s second favorite book to read. I think they really liked the artwork.

I have read Puppies in the snow so much that I have it memorized.

A Silly Snowy Day is about a turtle who decides to check out winter in lieu of hibernation.

Flip and Flop is a cute little book about two penguins named “Flip” and “Flop” who play a game called “boomba”. My kids like this book, but they constantly ask me, “Is that Flip or Flop?” The story line gets a little complicated when they meet two polar bears named, “Hip” and “Hop”. Then my kids ask me, “Is that Hip or Hop?” Yeah, definitely want to replace this one!

New Books to Add

Here are a few books I thought would be really great additions to our literary advent:

Do you have a favorite Christmas book?

1 comment to Christmas Books Advent

  • Erin

    Great list! I just hopped online and bought a few of these – I’ve been collecting Christmas books since around 2008 with the hopes of doing this advent tradition one year. I’m hoping to start this year!

    Some others we have that are not on your list:

    The Legend of the Candy Cane (I actually like the old edition better – new illustrations are more cartoony)

    Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale

    Christmas in the Manger – not anything special, but very simple story with rhyme, so it’s great for Liana – even held her attention last year, at under a year.

    Not sure if you’re trying to round up any last books, but currently has 10% off, and a lot of these ended up being around $4 with shipping! Coupon code is E38WE5. Good through 12/1 I think. 😉

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