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'Twas 24 Nights Before Christmas

By December 6, 2009

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Every December, I have grand intentions to put together a creative Advent calendar for my kids. But then time gets the best of me, and before we know it Christmas has arrived--countdown or not!

I think a lot of people love the idea of an Advent calendar, but they're just not sure what gifts to put inside one. Small candies, little love notes, stickers and rubber stamps are a few quick suggestions.

An idea I think is brilliant, though, comes from the lifestyle Web site Babyccino Kids:

An Advent calendar of books.

Mo, one of the writer-moms there, wrapped 24 Christmas-themed children's books in matching wrapping paper and numbered each one with a gift tag. Every evening in December, her kids reveal that night's book, read it together, and then head to bed knowing they're one day closer to Christmas.

I love the simplicity of it. You don't have to think about finding 24 different trinkets. You're not giving your kids junk. And you're building a family ritual the kids will remember forever.

If buying 24 books sounds a little, um, expensive, here are some tips:

  • Buy secondhand books
  • Check out library books and wrap them instead of buying (just be aware of due dates)
  • Celebrate the 12 days leading up to Christmas instead of 24.
  • Or follow Mo's advice: put away the Christmas books after the holidays pass and re-wrap the same ones year after year, perhaps adding one or two new ones each December as the kids mature.

Is anyone else as charmed by this as me? What's your family's Advent calendar tradition?

By the way, you'll see the list of books Mo wrapped up if you follow that link above.

Found via Ohdeedoh.

Photo courtesy of Babyccino Kids.

December 6, 2009 at 1:14 pm
(1) Emily says:

I love this! But, my first thought was $$$$.

December 6, 2009 at 10:17 pm
(2) kidsparties says:

Me too, Emily. Library books definitely would help.
One Christmas my husband and I were short on money so we set a tiny budget for each other’s gifts. One thing he “gave” me was a bag of books he checked out from the library. It was cute to see which ones he thought I’d like. Of course, I had to give them back three weeks later, but I’ll never forget that gift.

December 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm
(3) Emily says:

Just had a thought. Post Christmas chaos, wouldn’t it be fun to make a holiday book using photos from the season and write your about your family’s Christmas celebrations, events, cooking making and such? This could be added to your advent book collection. It would be such a fun and treasured book to open…not to mention that despite the time you spend making it, it wouldn’t cost much, making the advent calendar of books much more affordable. Each year you could make a new one and add it to the collection. I think it would be a hoot to pull those out year after year.

December 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm
(4) Jess says:

You just inspired another thought. I can’t afford books for all my kids and more than 25 books to keep track of and return to the library would be a nightmare. But my kids love the little prayer cards you get at church and that’s a nice way to make it about the faith. I could easily find 75 with saints, angels, prayers or even ones that I make up for each one of them and it would be really affordable.

December 19, 2009 at 2:21 am
(5) kidsparties says:

Such great ideas, guys. I love to see the creative juices flowing here. If anyone follows through with these ideas (either this year or in the future), please send me photos. I’d love to post them here.

Jess, your comment about checking out that many library books made me laugh. My girls and I come home with armloads of books, much to the chagrin of my husband who can’t stand the mess–or the overdue fees.

Emily, I just created a family Christmas journal that we’ll use to write down our holiday memories from now on. I embroidered a drawing by my daughter for the cover and wrapped it around a funky old journal I found at a garage sale last summer.

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