Happy first Friday of December friends! I’m feeling kind of torn this week between looking forward to Christmas and being kind of terrified that the end of the year is upon us already. Not to be dramatic, but every thing feels a bit like we’re on a precipice at the moment.
There has of course been lots of excitement this weeks, with the start of December also meaning advent calendars! We have a couple of daily calendars – a fabric one I made a few years ago with little pockets to fill, a Lego one, and also a lovely traditional cardboard one with glitter and gnomes and pictures of rocking horses behind the doors.
We do also have our book advent, which is what I wanted to talk about a bit more today! Every year I intend to put up a post about book advent – what we’ve tried, what works for us, and the books I’m including – but somehow the time passes and by the time I actually get to it then it feels too late. I’m half tempted to write a big post about it today and schedule it for 1 November 2022! haha.
So, we’ve been doing book advent for my daughter since she was little and have tried a bunch of things. I think the most important thing is to make it work for you – there are no actual rules, so you can really tweak it to whatever you want. The first year we wrapped up 24 books – I for each night before bed, but we just couldn’t keep up with them all and to be honest she wasn’t really interested in something new every night for that many nights in a row. The next year we did 12 books, one every second night(ish), which is a bit less intimidating and also easier to keep up with . I know it’s ridiculous, but I did feel a bit bad when I was trying to decide which books should be opened in the last few days before Christmas – they don’t have time to get as much love as the others (am I the only one who worries about the books’ feelings?).
Last year I think we landed on a great solution for us – she was reading independently and loving books like Ella Diaries, and the Rainbow Magic Fairies, so I hunted down a four pack of Christmas themed Magic Fairies books and wrapped them for her to open one on each of the four Sundays of advent. All of our Christmas picture books we kept in a basket next to the Christmas tree so she could pull out her favourites to read at any time.
This worked so well for us that we’re doing the same again this year. She can read an Ella and Olivia or Magic Fairy in an evening now, so I’ve popped them on a shelf for her to grab whenever she likes, with a few other Christmas chapter books. I have mixed it up a bit with the 4 new books this year – I’ve got 2 middlegrade novels (A Mouse Called Mika by Matt Haig, gifted to us by Allen and Unwin and Wish You Was by Alexandra Page, gifted to us by Bloomsbury) which we’re opening in weeks 1 and 3, and 2 books with Christmas carol lyrics (which I bought from Christmas Laurel & Co. – they have such a great collection of titles!) for weeks 2 and 4. We’ll read the stories aloud together each night, which means we have two weeks to get through them. I really think that – like with most traditions and activities at this time of year – the main thing is not to sign up for something that is going to put extra pressure on you!
Because there are no rules, and it’s about making it work for you, it isn’t too late to incorporate books in your Christmas countdown this year! Here are a couple of tips just in case you do decide to do something (and so that I have something written up to flesh out next year haha):
- Make it work for you!
- You don’t have to buy new books – wrap up the books that you have or borrow from the library!
- You don’t have to have 24 books – you might like to do a countdown of the 12 days before leading to Christmas, or even 5 nights, or spread out fewer books across times (depending on your kids age they could do the skip counting and mark every second or 5th or whatever day on a calendar and open books those days).
- They don’t all have to be story books. Pop in a colouring book or song book or search and find book to mix it up a bit.
- You don’t have to wrap the books, and they don’t all have to be ready at the start – you can pops books in reusable fabric gift bag each night,
- You can have all the books out on the shelf, and pop the titles in numbered envelopes or a reusable advent calendar – the kids can pull out the name and go find the book on the shelf.
- Choose a longer book and split it up into chunks to read together each night (A Boy Called Christmas is perfect for this my daughter was about to turn 6 the first time we read this together and she adored it. The audio is also wonderful and is narrated by Stephen Fry).
- Remember it’s about having fun! Go with the flow and tweak it to whatever suits you and your kids!
I hope that helps! Do let me know if you are book adventing this year, or if you have another way or incorporating books in your Christmas preparations!
Looking for more Christmas kids’ books? Click here.