Every year for the past 5 years I have created a book advent in December and it has now become one of our families favourite traditions. When I first started doing it the concept wasn’t very common and lots of friends and family were intrigued as to what I was doing and why but now the idea is definitely catching on more and more and I hope to be able to continue doing it for years to come, although once they do grow up and move out I think I will switch to the Icelandic book exchange idea instead.
What is a book advent ?
Simply put a book advent is an advent like any other except instead of opening a door and finding a chocolate or looking in a cotton pocket and finding a small toy, you unwrap a new Christmas themed book. I opt for a new book everyday up to and including Christmas eve but some people choose to do one every other day or just for the 12 days of Christmas, it really is up to you based on your preference and how likely you are to be able to read a book with your child each day.
How to create a book advent
Lots of people choose to make them in different ways but for me this is what works best
1. Choose 24 Christmas themed books that are age appropriate for your children (I don’t buy 24 new books each year, just reuse our favourites and add a couple of new ones).
2. Wrap each book in nice Christmas wrapping paper, part of the excitement is from opening a gift everyday. I try and make them look nice and use brown decorated Christmas paper as they will be on display in my lounge for the whole of December after all.
3. Find somewhere to store them, I place ours in a wicker woven basket. I original bought this from Home bargains 5 years ago and it is still going strong. I choose not to number the books but let the boys take turns in choosing one each day but you could number them if you wish.
4. Place them out before you go to bed on November 30th so they are ready for December 1st.
How to choose the books for your book advent
If you are doing this for the first time you may find that it is expensive to by 24 new books, in which case mix in a few non christmas books that you already have that you know your child will love to read. The idea is to encourage more reading as a family, not create an added expanse at an already expensive time of year, plus you can always add extra books each year.
Although we have been doing this for many years this year I have replaced a number of our books as both children are now able to read so I have picked a few older books and removed a few of the more younger stories.
In order to keep the cost down I have ordered books that come in a series for a lower price for example
The Mr men Christmas collection – this contains 10 books and was priced at £10 from The works where they also have an offer for mix and max 10 Christmas books for £10, which is a great deal and a good way to get started.
I also found this set of North Police elf detectives books on amazon which are a little bit older that I am hoping the boys will enjoy
If you are looking for some more unique books that your child is unlikely to be familiar with I recommend Abrams and chronicle for titles such as
Christmas night at the construction site – the ultimate book for truck loving children
Decked out for Christmas – a story with a twist
First snow – a beautiful black and white book that will stand out from the crowd
All aboard – A book that grows with the story until it is the length of your sofa!
These more unusual tales will provide a good mix of books so that the book advent doesn’t feel repetitive and the children look forward to discovering their book of the day, I cant wait till the tiddler unravels All aboard this year as it is definitely longer than him!.
As well as shopping at the works I also suggest checking shops such as pound land, B and M and home bargains for cheaper Christmas books as you also don’t need to add on postage then.
I only do one book advent for the family, so despite having two children I do make them share and we read them together and would recommend this to a) encourage quality family time each day and b) keep the costs down.
Last year we encouraged our eldest to read a couple of the books to us for his reading journal instead of us reading them to him and this also worked well as it gave him a break from his school book and made him feel grown up reading to his little brother so hopefully we will be able to get him to do this again this year.
If you do choose to do a book advent this year I would love to hear how you got on with it or if you find any great books deals to include do let me know.