Looking for a simplified book advent calendar idea? Here’s a way to gift books for advent calendar without breaking the budget and with getting the kids involved.
“My name is Crystal and I am a full-blown mom-guilt addict.”
Though I’ve definitely earned a lot of that guilt – hello, full-time working mom here – I do have one powerful way to overcome that feeling pretty fast.
I am a planner.
I plan meals. I plan bed-time routines. I plan mommy-kid or daddy-kid dates. I even plan in snuggle time after my kids get home from school (and I sneak away from work for 15 minutes).
And I plan holidays.
How do I avoid holiday Mom-Guilt? By Over-planning!
Seriously, if I haven’t finished holiday planning by the first day of fall I tend to end up in the “go-overboard-do-all-the-things-Pinterest-is-my-favorite-drug”-mode.
This year I wanted to add a Christmas countdown for my kids that is better than my lame, hand-made, mini-chalkboard that magnet sticks to my refrigerator.
Even if my kids love nagging me to change the number on the countdown every morning, I wanted something that would invest them more in the season.
You know, teach them it’s more than just counting down to presents.
Last year I focused on Thanksgiving traditions and you can read about that craziness – and find some awesome gratitude activities.
After looking at a ton of ideas, I decided I wanted some sort of an advent calendar, similar to many of the ideas I found while researching Elf on the Shelf alternatives a few years ago (Katelyn has since found even more Elf on the Shelf Alternatives for Christians).
But, here are some of the many advent calendars I found with some awesome ideas:
- How to Make an Advent Calendar that will Teach Your Kids About Jesus from AtHomeWithKids.com
- Easy Advent Countdown Calendar by James Castiglio
- Quick and Simple Advent Calendar to Make by RanyDayMum.co.uk
- Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar
- Unique Advent Calendars that are Non-Candy and Non-Toy
- Nativity Advent Calendars
- 50+ Toy Advent Calendars
- Advent Ornaments
But I loved this idea of a book advent calendar the best, inspired by Christmas Book Advent Calendar by Trina Holden.
Books are More than Presents
Ok, I know I just said I want them to understand that Christmas is about more than presents. And then I picked an advent idea that is actually a present for them to open every day. But hear me out.
First, these books are more than presents.
About five years ago, my in-laws bought a few Christmas books for our family. We use those books all the time.
Because why not take a book about the birth of Jesus to church on Sunday when they are supposed to be focused on Jesus, right?!
Second…..wait, I don’t think I need a second here, other than books are magic.
They teach in ways that I just can’t. They open my kid’s minds and hearts to hearing more than just the word on the page.
And a book advent calendar is an investment I can make all at once or over time.
Since my holiday budget isn’t huge, I’m starting small. I’m buying enough books to open one each week and then an extra on Christmas Eve.
Next year, I’ll buy a few more.
And maybe a few more during the year when my holiday budget has a bit of wiggle room.
I also visited Katelyn’s list of the most amazing children’s Christmas books to find several of the books I want to include in our book advent calendar.
I honestly want to own them all!
My kids are also constantly bugging me to let them do something “special”.
Despite activities for each kid customized to their interests (cross country, soccer, ballet, and Dora the Explorer in order of age), dates with mom/dad, special get-togethers with family, weekly playdates…they still turn around and ask to do something “special” daily, hourly, ugh…
Anyone else fighting that battle right now?
Thankfully, my kids are still young enough to think that art projects are “special”. So I thought, why not let them make their own book a day advent calendar?
It’s just a tiny bit of work for me, gains me hours of quiet time for a few days, and they will love ogling their handiwork when we put out the book advent calendar in December.
How to Help Your Kids Make a Book-A-Day Advent Calendar
Here is what you will need for your kids to make their own Book-A-Day Advent Calendar.
- Books. Any number of them. Like I said, I’m starting small so I have one book for each week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and an extra for Christmas Eve. For this year, that is just five books.
- Butcher paper. I keep a roll of it on hand. There are just so many ways to use this stuff.
- Decoration stuff. Markers (only washable at my house), stickers (so, so many stickers), stamps, etc, etc.
- Scissors and Tape – Scotch or other.
- Additional decorations if preferred.
- Numbers. You can use stickers, printable tags, wood tags, etc. I love these printable advent tags from Lansdowne Life.
Instructions on How to Make Book Advent Calendar with Kids
- Purchase books.
This seems like a no-brainer but is probably the part that requires the most planning ahead. Make sure those books are available in time or things get kind of awkward during the countdown.
- Open roll of butcher paper on a reasonably clean surface.
I rolled ours out on my semi-freshly swept floors.
- Spread out art materials.
Markers, stickers, stamps, crayons. Whatever your kids love to use. We use only washable. And seriously, say no to glitter. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it.
- Let the kids go to town to their heart’s content.
I actually left it out for a couple of days and just them work away. The length of time here is really up to you. How long can you stand for them to work on this? Do you need a full week of distraction? Two weeks? Totally up to you.
- Collect their masterpiece and wrap the books.
Cut up their cute masterpiece as you use it to wrap the books. This is another place you can involve your older, scissor-adept kids.
- You can then add decorations that you would like to include.
Coordinated bows or twine, or the nice stickers that you hide from the kids. Whatever speaks to your heart this time.
- Attach numbers to each wrapped book.
See my suggestions below on how to wrap the books.
- Find a place to display your advent calendar.
I decided to line our up across the top of a dresser in our fireplace room. (Take a look at the picture and you’ll get why I call it that).
Isn’t the finished piece adorable?!
When it comes to wrapping the books though, there are a couple of good options:
1. Mix up the books in random order or plan a specific order you want to open the books.
You could be really strategic here in teaching the story of Christ’s birth just by the order that you open the books.
2. Pick the way you want to count down.
We will be opening one book each week but I still want to count down the days. You could choose to count down or count up. I want to open our last book the day before Christmas and one each week before then.
As an example, for 2019, I will have the kids open books with the numbers 2, 9, 16, 23, and 34. One for each month in December and the last for Christmas Eve.
P.S. If you are looking for an even simpler way to select good books for your kids, and even have them pre-wrapped, you can look into a Bookroo book subscription for your kids!
They have board books, picture books, and even chapter books. Take 15% off with code BOOKS2LOVE.
What traditions are you planning with your family this year?
Read more posts about Christmas traditions and ideas below:
- Unique Christmas Eve Traditions
- 25 Christmas Songs All About Jesus
- Christian Christmas Movies You Probably Haven’t Heard Of
- Want – Need – Wear – Read Ideas for 4 Gifts for Christmas Tradition
- Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Christmas Gift Ideas
- Beautiful Nativity Ornaments for Your Tree
- 25+ Best Kid Nativity Sets
- 12 Days of Christmas Secret Santa Gift Ideas
- The Orange in the Christmas Stocking Tradition
- 8 Traditional Stocking Stuffers