With just a week left until Christmas I wanted to share how we are doing our advent book tradition this year. We read a special Christmas book each night. I should point out that all of our books are secular, full of Santa and bears and Christmas magic because that’s how we celebrate Christmas. We are intentionally message light, which is probably why Ellis asks if the candles at Hanukkah are for Santa’s birthday. Oh well. We celebrate a lot of things here and the details are a little murky.

We have tried a different method each year and haven’t really settled into one yet. The first year we let Ellis pick any book in any order. Last year we were trying to teach Ellis how to open presents so I wrapped each book. This year I decided to display them in the reading corner, with special tags (that Cal is a big fan of tearing off).


I collected about 80% of the books from the thrift store. A few I specially requested as grandparent gifts and one or two were out of print so I had to seek them out online.

Here is a round up (with links in case you want to add any to your collections)

The Classics

Either Adam or I grew up reading these:

1) Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer– Little Golden Book
2) Carl’s Christmas– Alexandra Day. A beautiful wordless adventure book.
3) The Night Before Christmas -Tasha Tudor. The only acceptable version for Adam’s family. They read this book aloud lit by a special candle that they have been burning for 35 years on Christmas eve each year.


The Gems

Picking up books at the thrift store means we discovered some little known, but now much loved, books.

4) The Christmas Bear– Henrietta Stickland. Ellis loves this oversize book. It is intricately illustrated and he could look at it for hours.
5) The Dinosaur Night Before Christmas– Anne Muecke. This is our newest addition. It is the only book I added this year. I couldn’t resist the dino spin on the Christmas classic.
6) Santa Cows – Cooper Eden. This bizarre one is my favorite. It has crazy verse and I look forward to it each year.
7) Santa Through The Window – Taro Gomi. This might be the prettiest book in the mix.
8) Any Sabuda pop up book. We have three (The Night Before Christmas, Christmas and The 12 Days of Christmas) and each one is a delight.


The Themed Tie Ins

I plan these to correspond to a specific Christmas activity.

9) The Sweet Smell of Christmas – Patricia Scarry. A scratch and sniff book that I purchased new so that the scents were strong. We read this one on cookie making day.
10) The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg. A classic that we read the night before going on the Santa train which is our tradition each year.
11) Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree – Robert Barry. The book we read when we get our tree. I wanted the vintage edition. Out of print, but worth tracking down for the beautiful art.


The Age Appropriate

These books will rotate out as the boys grow out of board books. We will sub in others.

12) Who’s Getting Ready for Christmas? – Wood and Kneen
13) Merry Christmas Maisy – Lucy Cousins. A lift the flap book that interests Cal this year.
14) Merry Christmas – Egmont Books. This one lights up which is a great gimmick for right now.


All The Others

Because December is long…

15) The Star Tree– Gisela Colle
16) Albert’s Christmas– Leslie Tryon
17) Olivia Helps With Christmas– Ian Falconer
18) Pete The Cat Saves Christmas– James Dean
19) How the Grinch Stole Christmas– Dr. Seuss
20) Olive the Other Reindeer– Vivian Walsh
21) Bear Stays Up For Christmas-Wilson/Chapman
22) Counting to Christmas– Nacy Tafuri
23) The Curious Christmas Cats– George White

24) The Littlest Elf– Brandi Dougherty


City Mama do you have any special books you love at Christmas?