The 25 Books Of Christmas & How We Make It Work
A few years ago, we introduced our favorite Christmas countdown activity to #thebigone. We love it, and it’s one of the few holiday traditions we repeat each year. It’s a popular tradition called ‘The 25 Books of Christmas’. I wrap up 25 holiday themed books sometime in November – or October if I really get my act together! When December rolls around, he can open a book to read each evening. It’s a great tradition as it helps build excitement about the upcoming holiday, encourages family reading time, and can help build your home library.
Standard Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through a link in this post, I may earn a small commission at not additional cost to you. Commissions like these help support my next Target run, so click away friends!
OUR FIRST FEW YEARS OF THE 25 BOOKS OF CHRISTMAS
The first year we tried out this advent calendar, I purchased a mix of new and used holiday themed books to wrap. #thebigone was still pretty young at that point, and his library was nothing like it is today. As a result, buying new books almost felt like a necessity. The following year, I decided to try wrapping a mix of holiday books we already owned, and some I purchased second hand. #thebigone was NOT having it. We took pictures that year as he opened his books each evening. You can VERY clearly tell which books are new to him and which are not, based on a real smile vs. a fake smile. Every time he opened one he already owned, he would remind me, in his matter of fact three year old way, “Mommy. My books are for reading. They are not for wrapping. Stop doing this.” [Sassy from the very start, this kid.]
> Old cell phone photos, comin’ atcha! Makes you appreciate how far we’ve come! <
ANOTHER TRY AT THE 25 BOOKS OF CHRISTMAS
So the following year, we switched back to wrapping 25 books he had never seen before. That continues to be the way we enjoy the 25 Books of Christmas at our house. Before you ask, yes, we own A LOT of holiday books. We pack them away January through November. It’s always fun to open the boxes when the holiday season begins. We love to sort through them, and find favorites we haven’t read in a while.
MAKING THE 25 BOOKS OF CHRISTMAS WORK FOR YOUR FAMILY
At this point, I buy only used books, because even I can’t justify the expense of 25 brand new books every December. (And I can almost always justify book shopping- just ask my husband!). If you’re interested in beginning this tradition with your family, here are some ideas about how you can get it started without blowing your holiday budget OR overloading your bookshelves this December.
Sure, we like to make all of the books in our advent activity fit the holiday theme, but it’s not a necessity. You can always look for great deals on books about all sorts of topics. They’ll work well, and you’ll still be setting aside special time each evening for family reading & bonding. Alternatively, while we always do holiday themed books, they aren’t necessarily only Christmas books. When I find cute books about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Year’s, I pick them up. It’s a perfect opportunity to add cultural diversity and awareness to your holiday season.
2. Hope For A Flexible Kid (in Other Words, Not Mine!)
There’s no reason you have to introduce 25 new books each year. If your kids aren’t as choosy as mine, you can save time and space by wrapping 25 books you already own. Choose the books earlier in the year (July or August works well), and set them aside so there’s a break in reading them. This helps the books feel extra special when they’re unwrapped in December.
3. Buy Used & Start Early
Used books are as much fun to unwrap, read, and share as the brand new ones. I regularly score great books at amazing prices at garage sales, thrift shops, Craig’s List, local mom swaps groups on Facebook, library book sales, and kid’s resale shops. The Savers in my area offers ‘buy 4 books, get 1 free’ deals. The Once Upon A Child near me has a ‘buy 5 books, get 5 books free’ policy. You can save a ton by checking these options early and often. Don’t wait until the last day of November to start hunting! Things will be pretty picked over by then.
4. Host A Book Swap
Do you have friends or family who would like to start this tradition as well? Why not get together each year to trade books? The more the MERRIER! [Get it?! MERRIER?! Christmas?! Ha!] Make some group decisions before getting together. Will you only swap holiday themed books, or does anything go? Do you leave the same number of books you came with? Who chooses first, or is it a free-for-fall? This is a great option to save some cash and cut down on the books you need to store at home.
5. Check Your Local Library
Short term free book ‘rentals’ from your library is a great to minimize costs and clutter during the holidays. (Not everyone needs 25 books on top of all the new toys and gifts making their way under the tree as well). The library has access to a wide variety of books on any topic. You’ll have a great selection of books celebrating all the winter holidays to choose from. You can probably check the catalog online and place holds on titles you want so you walk in to grab them. (Or just go wander the stacks! It’s fun, I swear!) Keep a list in a safe place of the books you have checked out and when they’re due. You’re less likely to accrue late fees or misplace books that way. Renew your books online midway through the month if necessary. And be sure not to mix the books in with your own shelves of books!
What fun Christmas countdowns does your family do every December? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!