For many years, I struggled with the countdown to Christmas and making it a fun time for my children. I wanted the days to be a fun time and not just counting down for the day of presents. We read books and made cookies and crafts and did any number of things. However, it was always a struggle and a time of stress for me. One year, I stumbled upon the perfect way to mark the days and also promote family togetherness and a love of reading.
Our family has a large number of Christmas themed books. We have been collecting them for years. Every year after Christmas, I choose some books and wrap them up. I then place them in storage. On December 1st, I pull the books down and place them on a shelf in our living room. Every night before bed, my children get to pick one wrapped book to open. We read the book and discuss it. We then read other Christmas books that have already been unwrapped. I do place a limit on the number of books I read each night.
We have a large collection, so I am able to wrap a book up for each day of December before Christmas. However, when we first started this tradition we did not have as many. And for several years, I was also working full time and had less time on my hands in the evenings. In these cases, we only did the wrapped books on the weekends or only for the last 12 days before Christmas.
The great thing about this tradition is that it allows you to have something to look forward to each day, a surprise for everyone! Since the books are wrapped up, your child or children gets the fun of unwrapping for the entire month rather than just one day. You never know just what book you will be getting! I usually choose one special book for Christmas Eve and wrap that one differently so that I know to hold on to it for that evening.
The books that we read for Christmas range from religious books such as The Legend of the Candy Cane or The Three Trees to books such as Twas the Night Before Christmas and Rudolph. Every year we add new books and choose which ones we will be using the next year before we wrap them. The great thing about having them wrapped in advance is that it saves you time when the holidays are getting close.
This is a tradition that any family can pick up. It does not matter if it is a month until Christmas or only a week. Start this year when you can and make your plans for next year. You can purchase new books at the after Christmas sales for less money to build your collection for next year. Believe me, this tradition is a hit. It builds a love of reading and books in young children. It also helps to build a joy in family togetherness. My boys are only 3 and 2 years old and are already big fans of The Books of Christmas!