Looking to start a new family tradition? Here’s how to create a picture book advent calendar that your kids will love!
One of my favourite family traditions of the whole year is our picture book advent calendar. It is a wonderful way to countdown the days until Christmas. Each day in December leading up to the 25th, the kids open up one new Christmas-themed picture book. I love this tradition because not only does it get kids excited for December 25th, it encourages their love for reading! And if you know me, you know that I love anything that promotes a love for reading!
In this post, I will share how to create a picture book advent calendar and give some of my favourite holiday book recommendations!
Picture Book Advent Calendar
Here is an easy step by step to help you prepare a picture book advent calendar:
1. Choose your picture books
One of my favourite parts of creating our advent calendar is finding picture books I think my kids will love! I start looking early by thrifting (my favourite place to find books!) and then if I’m still looking, I will shop for picture books in bookstores or online.
The best part about this tradition is that once you collect a good number of books, you can re-use them year after year. We have several books that have been huge hits for several years running (I will share these below).
I love finding at least one new book every year to make our advent calendar feel exciting and new. My criteria for our picture books is that they are holiday themed and include faith-based books to ensure our kids know the true reason we are celebrating.
2. Wrap your picture books
There are so many fun ways to wrap your picture books for the advent calendar. I often choose to keep it simple with craft paper (or a festive wrapping paper) and a sharpie marker to label numbers 1-24. Sometimes I will add a festive ribbon on certain days to make it feel a little extra exciting. You can go all out with wrapping or keep it simple like I do. You can’t go wrong!
3. Decide your order
Mostly, I wrap the kids advent books in a random order however, I like to be extra thoughtful with the first and last book I choose for the kids to open. I always want number one to be Christ-centred so that we can continue to refer to the book throughout the month – reminding each other about the reason for the season. The last book will also be Christ-centered to celebrate the special day of Christmas. If I think a book will be a big hit for the kids, I will put it towards the beginning of the month so that they can enjoy that much longer.
4. Display your advent calendar
Every year, I display our picture book advent calendar under our tree for when the kids wake up on December 1st. I love watching their faces light up as they scramble to find number one! It is important that the advent calendar is in an accessible spot where kids are able to reach. Another option might be on a bookshelf or a picture ledge. A helpful tip is to have a basket close by so that the kids can keep all of their open advent books in one spot for easy reading.
5. Open a new picture book each day
Starting on December 1st, have your kids open one new book each day until Christmas Eve. My kids love to open their picture book first thing in the morning. They will ask to read it together and then often go off on their own to re-read it again and again throughout the day. Have I already mentioned how much I love this tradition? It is just so sweet to see how excited they are to read.
6. Make note of the most popular books
Before I pack up after the holidays, I make a note of what books were the most popular. I will put those aside for next year and donate any books that fell a little short. I like doing this right away to avoid having to sort through all of the books during the next year. The books I have put away I know the kids really like and that makes carrying on the tradition a breeze!
Picture Book Advent Calendar Recommendations
Christ-Centered Picture Books
My favourite book to start with on December 1st is a book about advent. We refer back to our advent book throughout the whole month of December to help our kids understand the true meaning of Christmas. This is the one we have that has 25 stories to help kids understand what the season is all about.
Holiday-Themed Picture Books
Check out my top 12 holiday picture books have been my kids favourites for a few years in a row below. Here are here are two extra recommendations that my kids love (thank goodness we get a total of 24!). I love reading these to the kids, and having my daughter read to her younger brothers. This tradition melts my heart!
New Holiday Picture Books
I recently thrifted this picture book to add to our collection this year. I’m thrilled!
Some other picture books to thrift or buy on my list are:
- Franklin’s Christmas Gift
- The Bernstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
- The Crayon’s Christmas
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas
- Sounds Like Christmas
Top Picture Book Advent Calendar Recommendations
Here are some of our top picture books for an advent calendar:
- Advent Storybook
- Construction Site On Christmas Night
- Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
- I Can Find It! Christmas
- A Porcupine In A Pine Tree
- Dashing Through The Snow
- One Christmas Night
- One Winter’s Night
- Bear Stays Up For Christmas
- Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
- Little Reindeer Saves Christmas
- The Bernstain Bears and the Christmas Angel
This post was about how to create a picture advent calendar for your kids.
Creating a picture book advent calendar is an exciting way to foster a fun and festive holiday tradition with your kids. They will love being surprised with a new book to read every day until Christmas Eve! This tradition is one that your kids will be sure to cherish for years to come. It is a wonderful way to encourage a love for reading, spending time together and building excitement for Christmas day.
I hope you will give a picture book advent calendar a try this year. And if you do, make sure to comment below with your favourite book recommendations!
Until next time,