Friday, November 22, 2013

24 Books: A Reading Advent Calendar

Advent Calendars have been a Christmas staple in our home for our children and from my childhood. Through the years, we have had the paper kind, where you open a window and see an image. We've had the chocolate kind, where each day you open a door to find a waxy square of chocolate. We've had the Lego kind, where each day a small bag of lego blocks and instructions are given and the reusable kind, where there are 24 doors and I fill them with various tiny goodies. It's like a small appetizer until Christmas day, a tiny gift each morning and a way to make December special. 
Somewhere online I found a altered version of an Advent calendar for reading: 24 Christmas books, wrapped and placed under the tree.  Each day, the child or children find the book with the number that corresponds to the day and opens the book.  Together, the family reads the story. 
What a great idea! I wish I did this when my daughters were tiny, they would have loved it.  But, that's the great thing about having a large family, my brothers and sisters have children of their own, I can spoil for Christmas! 
I considered doing this for my brother's family and also my sister's family (those that are in the states). I did the math… 24 books per household X 2… Hmmm. I enlisted the help of another sister and together we put together two 24 Days of Christmas Books or 24 Advent Books for each family.  And both families live hours away, so we have to ship the books across state lines...
Since the kids in each family are different ages, we got young Ellie (under 2 years old) books designed for her age.  The other family has Pre-K and Kindergarten readers, so we were sure to get some books that they could read on their own, as well as ones they can enjoy with their family.
My sister and I played Santa and each purchased 24 books, coordinating with each other so no family received duplicates.  Then we wrapped them in kraft paper (this way our books would coordinate under the tree) and taped numbers to the wrapped books.  
I made up 2 sheets with 24 numbers in squares and sent my sister her numbers. We both cut them out and attached them to the books.
 The beginning of my pile for C&T...
 My pile for Ellie...
Books wrapped and ready to ship.
I placed the books in boxes and took them to the post office for late November delivery, so that they arrive in time to be placed under the Christmas tree by December 1.
One of the great things is that after Christmas these books can be collected and saved to wrap again for next year.
 Feel free to save these number files and then print them on standard 8.5x11 computer paper or go here to download and print them in a PDF file.
Then simply cut and attach to wrapped gifts.
Here's the note we sent to go with the books.

And here's a list of some of the books we purchased:
Bear Stays Up All Night
Christmas Mornings

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