**With this December even nuttier than usual, I'm going to give myself a break and do a few posts that share a little link love with Christmas past. Enjoy!**
Each December for many years now, we've done an Advent calendar in books, or, as my friend Sara dubbed it, the Christmas Book Countdown.
The idea is very simple: wrap up 24 beloved holiday and winter-themed books (saving The Night Before Christmas for #24), put them in a basket for the little ones to open and read each night (fortunately, 24 is beautifully divisible by 2, 3, 4 and even 6 kids. If you have five kids, why not wrap up 25 and count Christmas Day? If you have more than six, goodness, you don't have time for this nonsense. Pour yourself an eggnog with lots of rum and sit back and enjoy the chaos).
I have made the process even easier in recent years by using reusable fabric gift bags (most of which become available for gift-wrapping by the time I need them) and reusable tags, labeled with the day and the kid (although I could not find the tags late Saturday night, so this year, it's a grab-bab, except for that trusty Night Before Christmas).
Any box or basket will do to hold all those books, but a few years ago, I gussied up a milk crate, which turns out to be the exact size and shape needed to hold those 24 books.
I share a more detailed description of our process (including the part about making sure the long books land on the weekends, and the Hanukkah book lands on Hanukkah, etc.), as well as a list of some of our favorite holiday books here.
I give more detailed reviews of our very most favoritest books here:
Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas
A Christmas Nutshell Library
A Jolly Christmas with the Patterprints
What I love most about this tradition is that it doesn't involve brining anything new into our home--little toys or chocolates or even a cardboard calendar that I will be loath to recycle at the end of the season. And it ensures all of our many holiday books get read every year. The boys are getting to be the age where they prefer me reading chapter books (very long, long chapter books) to them, rather than picture books, but the first night E was happy to pick and listen to a book from the basket (provided, of course, that I read HP afterward) and the second night Z read the book to us all as part of his reading log quota.
Even though it's just a tad past December 1, it's not too late to start this tradition in your home!