Some friends re-posted a blog on Facebook earlier this week that inspired me. Here’s the original blog. The author is Amy Broadmoore and she is a mother and library science graduate student who blogs about children’s books.http://delightfulchildrensbooks.com/2013/11/14/a-bookish-advent-calendar/. Bradmoore’s idea is simple- wrap up a Christmas book for each day of Advent. Your kids open a new one each day and the family reads it together.
I have grand plans every year of doing a meaningful advent calendar. Despite the resources I have available to me, I usually fail. Instead of buying a cardboard calendar with chocolates inside or stressing about creative activities for each day, I’m going to wrap up a book for each day.
[side note to Second Pres folks with young children- our awesome church educator, Jeannie Ford Andrews, is putting together an Advent packet that you all will receive in the mail soon. She’ll have her own list of books to add to this and other helpful ideas for observing the season with your family.]
At first I was intimidated thinking about buying 25 books. (Yes- this year Advent starts on December 1 so the liturgical calendar and secular countdown calendars match). Then I remembered that last year I carefully packed away all of our Christmas books with our decorations and just from memory I thought we had 6 or 8 up in the attic.
The good news is that I found 13 Christmas books in the attic with our decorations. Add that to the 3 in my office and we’re almost there! The bad news is that 10 of those are really very secular Christmas books- fun, but more about Santa and snow than the miracle of our God made flesh, humbly born in a manger (or wherever it happened). I’m going to cut myself some slack this year. I think we all should. So I’m going to go ahead and wrap up Frosty and Elmo, but add more religious books in the years to come. Also, this Mama really needs to read Anna Dewdney’s “Lllama Llama Holiday Drama” this time of year. We love those Llama Llama books- it’s like she lives in my head! Most of the books that we have now were gifts from relatives and teachers. I always think books are good gift idea. Perhaps that is why we so many.
If you can’t quite pull together enough books of your own, be sure to visit your public library. I know ours lets you check out books for 4 weeks plus the chance to renew. That’s plenty of time for Advent and Christmas, just so long as you don’t accidentally pack up the books with your Christmas decorations and store them in the attic. I cannot be held responsible for any fines you might incur.
Lily is 6 and can read some independently, but still needs help from time to time. Jackson will turn 3 during Advent and he loves books too (when he can slow down long enough to look at one). Some of these are simple board books, some are beautifully illustrated stories that the little one doesn’t have the patience to sit through. When I got our books out of the attic yesterday the kids couldn’t keep their hands off of them. Lily and Jackson sat on the couch and Lily read Frosty the Snowman to her little brother. Those are the moments a mother dreams of.
(sorry about the wonky formatting. I got tired of trying to fix it)
Here are the books we already have that I’ll be wrapping up:
- On Christmas Morning Board book by Patricia A. Pingry
- The Cheerios Christmas Play Book Board book by Lee Wade
- The Night Before the Night Before Christmas Paperback by Natasha Wing
- The Story of Christmas Hardcover by Patricia A. Pingry;
- Llama Llama Holiday Drama Hardcover by Anna Dewdney
- The Gingerbread Man Hardcover by Jim Aylesworth
- First Christmas, The Board book by Allia Zobel-Nolan
- 2 Hallmark Recorded books from Nana- the Night Before Christmas and All I Want for Christmas
- Frosty the Snowman Board book by Jack Rollins
- Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise Paperbackby Don Freeman
· Elmo’s Merry Christmas (Lift-the-Flap) Board book
· We Were There: A Nativity Story by Bunting, Eve
· Polar Express– Chris Van Allsburg
These are the books Amazon is sending my way:
- The Nativity by Julie Vivas
- Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale – Martin Waddell; Board book
- God Gave Us Christmas – Lisa Tawn Bergren; Hardcover
- Who is Coming to Our House? – Joseph Slate; Board book
- The Night of Las Posadas – Tomie dePaola; Paperback
- The Friendly Beasts – Tomie dePaola; Paperback
- The Trees of the Dancing Goats (Aladdin Picture Books) – Patricia Polacco;
- Christmas in the Manger Board book by Nola Buck
- Babushka Paperback by Sophie Fatus
- The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (picture book edition)Hardcover – by Barbara Robinson Laura Cornell (Illustrator)
- The Grumpy Shepherd Storybook Hardcover – by Paddie Devon
Some from our church’s children’s library:
- The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas- Madeleine L’Engle
- The Shepherd’s Christmas– Arch Books
- Born on Christmas Morn– Arch Books
- One Baby Jesus– Patricia A. Pingry
- The Little Drummer Boy Paperback by Ezra Jack Keats
- The Miracle of the First Poinsettia: A Mexican Christmas Story Paperback by Joanne Oppenheim
- Little One, We Knew You’d Come Hardcover by Sally Lloyd-Jones
· Oh Come Little Children by Anita Reith Stohs
Stable in Bethlehem: A Countdown to Christmas by Joy N. Hulme and Dan Andreasen
Here’s another list I found on pinterest with more book ideas.
Blessings on your Advent season!