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In addition to our Random Acts of Advent calendar, I wanted to introduce a new advent idea for this Christmas season. I love and adore children’s picture books and, being an illustrator myself, have quite a collection of them. As of last year, I decided that I wanted to collect enough children’s Christmas picture books to be wrapped, opened and then read every day in December up until Christmas. I was hoping to share this idea with you before the first day of December, but I just recently completed my entire collection of 25 Christmas themed picture books! So what a better day to share the advent fun but on the first day of December?
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I had a lot of fun wrapping and adorning these books. I used a variety of papers including white butcher paper and a selection of really fun wrapping papers from Fifth & Hazel. The above geometric print is one my fav’s.
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I then used an assortment of trimmings and trappings including simple little tags on which I wrote the days of the month, counting down to Christmas.
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I know a lot of advent’s end on the 24th but I thought it would be fun to read one more story on Christmas night (the 25th) to end the season on a nice note.
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Collecting 25 books might seem like an endeavor but it’s actually not too bad as there as so many great Christmas and winter themed books out there. In fact, it might be hard to pick just 25! Our little collection began from a few books that were given to us along with a few we had purchased. Last year, when I knew I wanted to do this, I decided to wait until the after Christmas sales to purchase a number of books, which I highly recommend if you want to do this next year. I also purchased a number from the Scholastic book club, which made things more affordable. But I have to say, some of my favorite purchases were made recently from thrift stores. I was able to find an original Golden Book Rudolf and the super great Babaar and Father Christmas book. This one is utterly gorgeous and I can’t wait to read it.

So these are the books we’re going to be reading this December (and I have to confess that I can’t vouch for all of them as I wanted to be surprised with a few of them as well…but I’m sure they’re all going to be great).

1. Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka (I was drawn to the illustrations in this book)
2. Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney (we haven’t read this but my boys love the first Llama Llama book so I’m sure they will be delighted with this one)
3. Golden Book’s The Christmas Donkey by T. William, illustrated by Andrea Brooks
4. I’ll Be There With Belzon by Kirk Richards (Kirk is an old high school friend of Jon’s and we love his work)
5. Babar and Father Christmas by Jean De Brunhoff
6. It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon
7. Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay
8. Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
9. Christmas Lights by Susan Mitchell (this book was given to Little A for his first Christmas. I love remembering those precious times when we read this and the boys love to see all the flashing ligths)
10. The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Klastrup, illustrated by Matt Tavares
11. Ho, Ho, Ho, Tucker! by Leslie McGuirk
12. The Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene, illustrated by Susan Gaber
13. The Snowman, lift-and-look book, by Raymond Briggs (Love this classic and my boys can’t get enough of the flaps)
14. The Elves and the Shoemaker by John Cech, illlustrated by Kirill Chelushkin
15. My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by H. B. Lewis (I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Cody Kimmel – I was lucky enough to illustrate her Suddenly Supernatural series – and My Penguin Osbert doesn’t disappoint. We love it.)
16. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Suess (a classic, need I say more?)
17. B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilner, illustrated by Elisa Kleven
18. Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera
19. Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas by Elise Primavera
20. Golden Book’s Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer
21. Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt, illustrated by Raul Colon
22. The Nutcracker adapted by John Cech, illustrated by Eric Puybaret
23. Snowman at Christmas by Mark Buehner, illustrated Caralyn Buehner
24. For Christmas Even, First Christmas a changing picture book beautifully illustrated by Sophie Williams
25. and for Christmas night, we went with Silent Night, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
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When the books were all wrapped I placed them in front of our fireplace. I’ll have to find a new place for them when we want to light a fire of course but for now, we are enjoying it.
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Oh and I had to share with you the vintage serving tray I found at a local thrift store. I’m seriously in love with it. I mean a retro fondue party scene? Does it get any better than that?
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At any rate, we are excited to start the count down and I’m certain that this new little tradition will add such a nice touch to the season.

Now all we need is a tree…I’m thinking left of the fireplace should do quite nicely…

– Oh, and what I need from you now is for you to tell me your favorite Christmas book. With this new tradition, we’ll always be in the market!

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20 Comments

  1. Reply

    cecimadden.com

    December 1, 2011

    i love both of these ideas, the random acts of advent and the book calendar. Anything to get into the spirit!

  2. Reply

    Alice Wills Gold

    December 1, 2011

    LOVE this idea.

    I want to do it. I probably have enough books on my book shelf that I could just go and get them and wrap them up.

    My favorite Christmas book of all time is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. We usually read it in two evenings.

    I secretly want you to illustrate my children’s book. I am waiting to ask you until I can afford your services.:)

  3. Reply

    Dee

    December 1, 2011

    Great ideas, great post!

    My band director in high school used to read The Polar Express to us. Yes, we were high school band geeks, and he would read this children’s book to us, but it’s a fond memory for me.

  4. Reply

    Jenn Kirk

    December 1, 2011

    My favorite advent idea yet! I’ll try to pull this off next year, maybe Christmas books will be discounted at the end of the month. Pretty wrapping too!

  5. Reply

    ariel

    December 2, 2011

    we are doing this for the first time this year, too. i started collecting last december!

    your wrapping is beautiful!!

  6. Reply

    suzannelee

    December 2, 2011

    the sweet smells of christmas, it’s a scratch and sniff book.. the kids love it.http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Smell-Christmas-Scented-Storybook/dp/0375826432/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322852768&sr=8-1

  7. Reply

    Erica Midkiff | Dearingford

    December 2, 2011

    I love this!! My favorite children’s Christmas book is Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble. Such a good one. I’ll be doing this next year–and I don’t even have children!

  8. Reply

    annie (the annilygreen one)

    December 2, 2011

    we’re doing this too! or at least we were before my daughter decided to be a 3-year-old who doesn’t understand “one each night” and opened all the books this morning. 🙂

    my new favorite (as of bedtime a few hours ago) is the nativity by julie vivas. the text is just the scripture text of the story, which i love…simple and classic. but the illustrations are gorgeous. i teared up they were so beautiful. and it’s only $3 at the byu bookstore right now.

  9. Reply

    juliannarichman@blogspot.com

    December 3, 2011

    My favorite book this time of year is called I Believe in Santa Claus. You can get it here:
    http://www.amazon.com/Believe-Santa-Claus-Diane-Adamson/dp/0967357101

    It goes thru all the attributes of Santa like, his hair is white, he comes in the night etc and then compares them to Jesus (his hair is white, he came in the night). It is so sweet. My oldest has it memorized by now since it rhymes, but it has scripture references in it as well. If I could I would give it to everyone I know.

    Love the wrapping paper-darling!

  10. Reply

    mom in art

    December 5, 2011

    WoW!!! I’ve been secretely admiring your blog for over a year from the opposite side of the world – Kiev, Ukraine. And finally I can’t help to confess – I’m in love with ALL of your decorative and party ideas, but this is by far my favorite.
    Considering that I am a bit a children’s books hoarder (not compulsive, just passionate…:))), I’m definitely going to hoard with a purpose now: to be ready for next December.
    Our favorite Christmas book is “God Gave Us Christmas” by Lisa Tawn Bergren (the author of “God gave us you” – which was the first book I started reading to my son even while I was still pregnant :)).
    Thank you so much for all of your creative juices overflowing even to our side of the planet.:)

  11. Reply

    sketchycharacter

    December 5, 2011

    Your blog is pure inspiration to me. I can’t wait to have children of my own, so I can use the ideas that I get from you. Reading with children is so important, and it makes me happy to see that it’s not lost in this digital age.
    Also, I always dream that my future little ones will have hair just like your boys. Its so lovely!

  12. Reply

    Heidi

    December 11, 2011

    1. The children’s book idea is amazing! You have a wonderfully creative and thoughtful mind. I wonder if I’ll ever get to doing this, though, while my kids are young. Maybe I’ll have time to do it when I’m a grandma. 🙂
    2. The serving tray is a.ma.zing!! That would absolutely go in with best thrift finds ever. How fun!
    – Merry Christmas

  13. Reply

    mer

    December 12, 2011

    Thanks Heidi! I know, that platter is so great! I’m so happy I’m not the only one that thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. 🙂

    xo mer

  14. Reply

    macmomma2

    December 15, 2011

    I love this idea about the books and the advent calendar, fresh idea away from toys and candy…one of the books I love to read towards the end of christmas is..The after-Christmas tree…it talks about extending christmas in the outdoors for the animals…really cute book for all ages, thanks for sharing…

  15. Reply

    Bri {collected}

    December 23, 2011

    Love this idea and love seeing people use our wrapping paper! Your wrapping looks fantastic!

    And I die over that tray!!!

  16. Reply

    Molly

    January 7, 2012

    What a wonderful idea, thank you! I hopped on over here from E. Woodward’s blog.

    If you want to change up any of your books from this past year, we certainly loved the book Winter’s Gift by Jane Monroe Donovan. It’s a heartwarming story and has lovely illustrations.

  17. Reply

    Brandi

    December 3, 2012

    Oh, what fun! I had a BLAST setting ours up at the end of the season last year, and we’re having a great time with the readings. Thanks for posting your book list!

    http://schwertnerland.blogspot.com/2012/01/advent-book-stack.html

  18. Reply

    Marigold Haske

    December 20, 2012

    I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for this idea. I saw this post last year and immediately started collecting books at post-Christmas sales. My boys have LOVED opening a book every night. This will definitely continue to be a tradition in our house!

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