I love advent calendars. They are the concrete anticipation of Christmas for kids and adults alike. Even though my kids enjoy opening the numbered door for each day, in my house I began to notice that things were becoming less than holy.

Soon it became all about whose turn it was. Or who got the little piece of chocolate. Or opening the wrong number. There was no family togetherness, instead it became a battle. This was not what I wanted advent to look like.

I knew that I wanted advent to be a time of family togetherness and for us to focus on the meaning of the season as we counted down the days. Thus began 24 days of Christmas Books.

The premise is simple: Each day your family reads one holiday-themed book together. 10 minutes a day is all it takes. As my family started the tradition, we found it was no longer about cardboard calendars. Now it was about what really mattered.

Beginning on December first, my kids find a basket in the living room filled with Christmas books, however they are off limits until we read them together. (If you are so inclined, you can even gift wrap each book to open one a day.)

I’ll warn you, it’s a lot of books, so we use our library and slowly build our collection by one or two books a year. Make sure to plan early so you get the books you want. Another great surprise is to invite another family member to read. Grandparents or aunts or uncles are fantastic for this, and even if they live far away, you can Facetime or Skype the book reading.

24 Days of Christmas Books is a great way to spend time together during the busy holiday season. Here are some of our favorites to get you started.

 

The Littlest Angel

by Charles Tazewell

This is a precious story about a young angel searching for the perfect gift for Jesus. Make sure to get the edition illustrated by Paul Micich, it is stunning.


The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

by Susan Wojciechowski

A tender story about how we can spread joy to even the hardest of hearts.


The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree

by Gloria Houston

A family in a small Appalachian town seeks to hold onto Christmas traditions while the father is away.


A Wish to be a Christmas Tree

by Colleen Monroe

All the animals of the forest help the lonely pine that feels passed over at Christmas.


Humphrey’s First Christmas

by Carol Heyer

The journey of the wise men told from the point of view of the camels carrying the gifts.


The Legend of the Candy Cane

by Lori Walberg

A sweet reminder of what the candy cane represents for all of us.


The Legend of the Christmas Cookie

by Dandi Daley Mackall

The story of giving during the holiday season, and it includes a cookie recipe to try!


Great Joy

by Kate DiCamillo

A favorite children’s author tells a sweet story about a girl, an organ player, a monkey, and joy.


The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree

by David Rubel

A perfect story to read when you watch the lighting of the Rockefeller Center tree, this story explores how we pay blessings forward through one sweet boy’s story.


The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg

A timeless favorite that will enchant even the oldest kids.


The Joy of Giving

by Jan Berenstain

A fun story with our favorite bears that teaches kids how fun giving can be.


The Light of Christmas

by Richard Paul Evans

Evans masterfully shows that the heart behind the gift matters more than what you have to give.


One Wintry Night

by Ruth Bell Graham

A beautiful rendition of the Christmas Story for young and old alike.


The Legend of the Christmas Stocking

by Rick Osborne

This sweet story helps kids understand the meaning behind the Christmas stocking.


Christmas Day in the Morning

by Pearl S. Buck

Through a young boy we discover what the best gifts truly are.


The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry

A classic tale that beautifully illustrates how to find the most special gifts of all.


Christmas in the Big Woods

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This book takes you on a journey to Christmas so many years ago.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas

by Dr. Seuss

No holiday book list would be complete without the classic story of the Grinch discovering what Christmas is really about.


The Night Before Christmas

by Clement C. Moore

A classic holiday poem, this story is one that will be repeated for years.


Christmas Farm”

by Mary Lyn Rae

The perfect story about Christmas trees and the tender determination of two kids.


The Little Fir Tree

by Margaret Wise Brown

A sweet story of how an ordinary tree’s dreams come true.


God Gave Us Christmas

by Lisa Tawn Bergren

The beautiful story of a little polar bear wondering if Christmas is about Santa or God.


Itsy Bitsy Christmas

by Max Lucado

Some cute little mice wonder how they fit into God’s great big story on the night Jesus is born.


An Orange for Frankie

by Patricia Polacco

An important lesson about tradition and giving is wrapped in this Christmas tale.

Do you have any special books that your family shares during the holidays? Share in the comments!

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