Look Forward to the Holiday with a Book Advent Calendar


I’m a big fan of the idea of Advent. Looking forward to a season, anticipating what’s going to happen, making ready (in our case more for winter than for Christmas, but still), are all good things in a society that pushes instant gratification and rushing the holiday season.

This may, in fact, be the only way in which I’m willing to concede the holidays are a season.

For many it’s a frenetic time, full of events and shopping and doing, the exact opposite of what I (and most people, I assume) want it to feel like. make a book advent calendar to celebrate the season

If there were One Little Words for each season instead of each year, my word for winter would be cozy. It’s a time for slowing down, being together without big plans, just being. Together.

(For four days over Thanksgiving we didn’t leave the house except to go to the grocery store. It was glorious.)

Advent calendars are a fun way to mark the season and anticipate what’s to come, but it wasn’t until the girl started talking about the sticker calendar she had last year that I started thinking about doing one this year.

And of course, because I love pulling big things together at the last minute, I decided over the weekend that I wanted to do a book advent calendar.

How to Make a Book Advent Calendar

Now, before you freak out and think I just went out and bought 24 books, I have to tell you that this is a pretty lazy version — though wrapping all those books was still a lot of work.

making a book advent calendar
So excited to introduce the girl to Ramona. These are some of our old books and some school book order books.

Start by going around the house and picking up books that your kids haven’t read in a while. Maybe you have a stash of books you bought when they were younger that they weren’t quite ready for (or is that just me, who bought an infant Grimm’s Fairy Tales?). Or some books you bought but that haven’t been read yet.

If you have any holiday or winter-themed books, pull those out, too. It will be fun to unwrap and rediscover them this year.

It happened that a book order from school came in over the holiday, and the girl didn’t know what I ordered, so I quickly whisked up most of those books and added them to my pile.

advent calendar books
A few new books add to the fun of the advent calendar.

I ended up buying five books from Target when I was shopping there yesterday, but I could have gotten away with fewer; I ended up with more books than I needed. But you might have specific things you want to fill in, like I wanted a copy of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” to read on Christmas Eve (I ended up with ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Mary Engelbreit). book advent calendar

Once you have your books gathered, decide if you want specific books on any specific days. Beyond ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, I specifically picked a new book for the first day (Olaf’s Night Before Christmas, actually). I put our one book about Hanukkah on Sunday, because that’s the day it starts. I added a fun kids’ cookbook (Kids’ Treats by Katie Wyllie) for the day before winter break starts, and that fairy tale book for the first day of break because we’ll have plenty of time to read it.

Other than that, I wrapped everything and placed them in order randomly. My main goal was to not put two books wrapped in the same paper next to each other, and not to put all the chapter books in a row. circle punch numbers

I used a circle punch and a couple of different colors of green cardstock to make circles on which I wrote the numbers, which are taped to the books. I loaded the books into a seasonally appropriate but not too Christmasy red and white striped basket (also from Target). This keeps it contained and makes it easy to move around for when there are other things under the tree. book advent calendar diy

I love this idea as a way to kindle a love of reading — and hopefully reading together — among the family. This little moment of togetherness each day is the perfect thing for such a busy time.

The girl knew that I was doing this and was so excited she asked me to make another pile of books (unwrapped, thank goodness) in her room so she could read some books she’s neglected.

More reading is definitely what I want for Christmas.

Have you ever made a book advent calendar? Is it something you’d want to do? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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