Traditions are fun but when they focus on family and time together, they are just beautiful! This time of year, the girls always start hinting about Christmas books. That is because we have a very special tradition surrounding our books.
After our tree goes up at the end of November, I shut myself in my room with last year’s leftover wrapping paper. I go through our HUGE pile of Christmas books and I select 25 of them. I then wrap them and stack them to make them lovely and place them in a basket or under the tree.
Each night in December, the girls take turns choosing and unwrapping one of the books. We have no idea what order they will come up in and that is part of the fun. Often, the girls try to pick a particular book based on the size and shape or whether it is a hardback or soft. It is lots of fun to see if they pick the one they are fishing for. It is always a joy to see their face when they recognize a favorite book or see a new one they don’t know. We always have at least one new one in there. (This year, we have 3!) We snuggle on the couch after PJs are on and read the book together. It is a time that is precious and helps us all slow down in the midst of a season that all too often is crazy busy.
In order to help you get started on building your own tradition, I thought I would share with you what will be in our stack this December.
- The Berenstain Bears: The Very First Christmas by Jan & Mike Berenstain
- How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky
- The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola
- The Nutcracker’s Night Before Christmas by Keith Brockett
- The Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Book by Eileen Daly
- The Santa Claus Book by Eileen Daly
- Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
- The Christmas Cub by Justine Korman Fontes
- The Mole Family’s Christmas by Russell Hoban
- It’s Christmas by Jack Prelutsky
- Frosty the Snowman by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins
- The Nutcracker adapted by Daniel Walden from the story by E.T.A. Hoffman
- Trouble at Christmas by Russell Johnson
- If He Had Not Come by Nan F. Weeks, reintroduced by David Nicholson
- The Christmas Unicorn by Anna Currey
- Santa Calls by William Joyce
- The Christmas Story according to the Gospels Matthew and Luke, painting by Gennady Spirin
- Grandma’s Christmas Wish by Helen Foster James
- The Donkey’s Christmas Song by Nancy Tafuri
- Din Dan Don It’s Christmas, pictures by Janina Domanska
- Olive, the Other Reindeer by J.otto Seibold
- The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
- The Farolitos of Christmas by Rudolfo Anaya
- The Tiny Star by Arthur Ginolfi
Some of these stay every single year. I cannot imagine Christmas without reading them to the girls.
Some of these do not get wrapped each year. As sad as that is to me, we keep all of our other books that are not wrapped in our monthly book basket. The girls are often seen reading book after book and greeting their old friends from last year.
I don’t think you can ever go wrong with introducing a child to a book, especially when you love that book. You feed imagination, encourage dreaming and thinking, and bring yourselves closer together. Any tradition that does those things is one we will continue.
A big thank you to Lori Hooten of At Home: where life happens for writing this article.