Every year for the past 7 years I have created a book advent for December and it has now become one of our families favourite Christmas activities. 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 for the kids is opening a gift everyday, they already know it will be a book but the act of unwrapping it is still so much fun. A these will be on display in my lounge for a whole month I try and make them look nice and use brown decorated Christmas paper as opposed to multi coloured thin wrapping paper. Top Tip – avoid paper with glitter on it. One year I used some lovely paper but every day there was a new scattering of glitter everywhere and it drove me mad.
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 expense at an already expensive time of year. Remember you can always add extra books each year.
This year we have Layla who loves to sit and listen to stories too, as well as Reece aged 10 and Connor aged 8. I did consider doing two, one for Layla and one for the boys but instead I have decided to do a mix of baby books and older books and I will ask the boy’s to read the baby books to Layla so they are still involved every day.
In order to keep the cost down I always try and order books that come in a series.
This is one of my favourite buys. 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 both boys enjoyed last year.
Then I pick up a few books at the cheaper shops such as Home Bargain and B & M.
Over the years I have also been sent some books to review which I now include. These are a little bit more unique and are so lovely. Here are a few of our favourites from the ones we’ve been sent that you can now order on Amazon.
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 can’t wait for Layla to discover All Aboard as it will be bigger than her!
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 both the boys to do this to Layla 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.
If you have a baby and think that they are a little bit too young for a traditional advent or a book advent then check out these other advent calendar ideas for babies.
(Some of these books have been previously gifted to us for other campaigns but we have chosen to include them here too).