There are a lot of wonderful Advent calendar ideas out there in the internet craftland, but I just don't have the energy (or time)...also I don't love the idea of my kids opening 24 presents leading up to Christmas, when they'll get MORE presents and family friends gave each boy two Advent calendars--one paper with pictures and one with chocolates. I'm kind of lusting over one of these pricey little jobbies...do you think I could saw, sand and drill myself one in time for next December?
Instead of an advent calendar, for the last few years I've wrapped up some of our Christmas books and we've opened one a day. The first couple of times it was only M opening them, so it worked out well, but last year we had fights over who got to open them. This year I considered wrapped three books for each day (yeah, we have that many Christmas/winter books...but in my defense most of them are hand-me-downs), but that just seemed crazy, so I just labeled them with the day and each kid's name (happily 24 is divisible by 3)...still there is much drama over who gets to open the books and then issues around the person opening the book thinking he owns the book...tis the season for fistfights! And M is (sniff, sniff) getting a little too old for picture books, so he usually opens his and then heads off to read Captain Underpants or Encyclopedia Brown, although he did read The Polar Express to us the other night.
Some of our favorite Christmas and winter books:
Anything by Jan Brett, especially if it includes Trolls (last year I had to hid Trouble With Trolls under the bed because I got sick of reading it), but also The Mitten and the Gingerbread Baby.
A Jolly Christmas at the Patterprints by Vera Nyce. We inherited this book when C's grandparents moved out of their farmhouse and it is probably the most fun Christmas story I've read.
A Christmas Stocking Story, by Hillary Knight, which I got as part of a set of four teeny tiny books when I was little.
Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, by Russel Hoban. Such a sweet story (by the author and illustrator of the Francis books)...also my favorite Christmas movie.
How the Rabbits found Christmas, by Ann Scott. One of my childhood books.
My Wonderful Christmas Tree, by Maine Artist/Illustrator Dahlov Ipcar.
I'm sure I'll think of more, once we've opened them all (last night was Little Critter's Merry Christmas Mom and Dad and Five Little Foxes and the Snow...both short, sweet additions to the list); and I'm sure MY favorites are not necessarily my kids' favorites, but this way we do manage to get all those Christmas books read during the right season, and then put away so we're not reading Rudolph in July.