Read Your Way to Christmas: 2013 Edition

Dec 11, 2013

Last December, we counted down the days to Christmas with a book advent calendar. You've seen the ideas, right? You wrap up (or you don't have to) 24 (or 25) Christmas books and unwrap (and read) one each day. My boys loved it. And I wrote up a post all about it, showing all 25 books and sharing a little personal info about each one.

And then I didn't publish it until after Christmas.

Yeah, I know, timing was everything on that one, and I completely missed it.

I don't think that post has been viewed once since it was published. So, will you make me feel better and go check it out now?

Thanks so much. That post just needed a little love.

Anyway, it was such a success last year I decided to do it again. Luckily, I found some replacements for some of the books I really disliked from last year (Good-bye, Max's Christmas), and so I'm even happier about the countdown this year than last year.

Since many of the books are the same, let me just highlight the new ones from this year.

(Oh, and as a side note, I've had several people ask me if I buy all new books for the countdown. Are you kidding me? 25 new Christmas books each year? No, thank you. These books are put away with all the other Christmas decorations, so it is just as exciting to open them as if they were brand new. Even more so, because they're like old friends that you haven't seen for 11 months. (Oh, and to tell you the truth, I bought most of them at our local thrift store, so we never ever saw them brand new.))

1. Christmas From Heaven - I already wrote about this one here. You know how much I love it. Nothing can beat a true story of human kindness and goodwill.

2. The Gift of the Magi - I have always loved this story, and I can't read it without hearing my dad's voice. This version, illustrated by P.J. Lynch, is absolutely gorgeous. The text is O. Henry's original words, but I'm hoping the pictures spread them out enough to keep my kids' attention (we haven't read it yet).

3. Dream Snow - I almost squealed when I found this at the thrift store. We read it from the library last year and loved it. It has these awesome transparencies of the falling snow, and of course you can't beat Eric Carle's timeless illustrations.

4. Dinosaur vs. Santa - I am not a huge fan of the Dinosaur vs. ______ series, but I actually think this one's kind of funny.

5. Can You See What I See: Night Before Christmas - Last year we had the little I Spy Christmas book, but it was getting a little too simple for Aaron and Maxwell. I can't wait for them to open up this one.

6. I'll Be Home for Christmas - Featuring the irresistible Toot and Puddle, this is just a fun story.

7. The Last Straw - This story is about a camel who makes a long journey and acquires many gifts for the Christ Child.

8. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree - I know a lot of people love this book. I actually haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

9. (not pictured) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas - In all my thrift store searching, I have yet to come across The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It is one of my very favorites, so I succumbed and ordered it. Our Christmas collection needed it (at least, that's what I told Mike).

Books that didn't make the cut this year (some of these I still put out, I just didn't wrap them up):

1. Country Angel Christmas
2. The Night Before Christmas
3. Henry and Mudge and a Very Merry Christmas (this one I kept out so Aaron could read it)
4. Max's Christmas
5. Christmas Mouse
6. Ernest's Special Christmas
7. I Spy Little Christmas
8. The Cheerios Christmas Play Book

Some of you might wonder why, with all my love for the library, I don't just check out all the books for our countdown.

Three reasons:
  • Getting the holiday books you want from the library is an extreme pain (and you can't count on them becoming available before December 25th).
  • If you do plan ahead and put them all on hold in a timely manner, there's no guarantee that someone else won't also put them on hold, and you'll end up having to unwrap them so you can return them.
  • I love being able to love these books as much as we want to without worrying about fines and such.
One of main reasons I love doing a book advent calendar is that it spreads our books out for the entire month, so we get to savor each book before moving onto the next. It also makes it so we enjoy all our books, not just our very favorites because we read the new one each day.

Do you do a book advent calendar? What are your favorite Christmas/holiday books?


  1. This is still a super fun idea! And how about you, do you have a stack of seasonal books picked out for your own enjoyment in the next month?

    1. Let me add that in case you haven't seen my latest post, one of the books I've checked out from the library for this month is Princess Academy, on your recommendation! :-)

    2. Oh yes! I didn't do a Reading With the Seasons for this month, but I'm currently reading a book called, "The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits." It's a super long title, but so far, I'm really enjoying learning more about Charles Dickens and what brought about the writing of "A Christmas Carol."

      Oooh, I hope you like Princess Academy!

  2. I love doing this with our kids too! Here's our list for this year. I couldn't hold it down to 25, so we open more than one some nights. Fun!

    Pete the Cat save Christmas
    A Letter to Santa Claus
    Merry Christmas Space Case
    On Christmas Eve (Collington)
    One Winter's Night
    This is the star
    The Polar Express
    The Christmas Blizzard
    Scaredy Squirrel Christmas
    Save this Christmas
    Great Joy
    Merry Christmas Ollie
    Wombat Divine
    Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas present
    Father Christmas
    The Christmas story (Spirin)
    The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
    On Christmas Day in the Morning
    The Little Drummer Boy (Davis)
    The nutcracker (Jeffers)
    The Story of the three wise kings
    Who's that knocking on Christmas Eve?
    Santa Claus (Rod Green)
    A Shepherd's Gift (Calhoun)
    The legend of the Christmas Rose (Hooks)
    The Mansion (Van Dyke) 100th Anniversary has illustrations and kid-friendly abridgement
    A Christmas Dress for Ellen
    The tale of the three trees
    The life and adventures of Santa Claus (Baum)
    A Christmas Carol: A Pop-up book
    God Bless your way: a Christmas Journey (Freeman)
    Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (Spector, illustrator)
    The Real Santa Claus: Legends of St. Nicholas (Mayer)
    The Nativity Story (McCaughrean)
    The Nativity: Six Glorious Pop-Up Scenes
    The Little Match Girl
    The Story of Holly and Ivy
    A Child's Christmas in Wales
    Frosty the Snowman (Watson)
    Bear Stays up for Christmas
    Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
    The Crippled Lamb
    12 days of Christmas (Brett)
    A small miracle (Collington)
    Olivia helps with Christmas
    Christmas from Heaven

    1. Wow, Jayne! Thanks for sharing your entire list! I'm going to check out a bunch of these. I'll bet Ellen loves "A Christmas Dress For Ellen." :-) We checked out "Olivia Helps With Christmas" from the library this year, and my boys really loved it.

  3. What a wonderful way to count down to Christmas!
    Love, Grandma Jones

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I like your picks! My stack of Christmas books is sitting under our tree, but we need to have some kids over to motivate ourselves to actually read them right now. :)

  6. Thanks for this list! I just put a bunch on hold. :) I found you via Modern Mrs. Darcy--I like your blog!

    1. Oh good! I hope you like some of them!

      And thanks for commenting! I look forward to getting to know you better!


Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground