Book Advent!! A little late getting it started this year (life with a new baby will do that), but in hindsight, December 7th seemed as good a start date as any!
Growing up, my sisters and I received a new Christmas book every year. As the years passed, our family stockpile of holiday books grew. The books were packed away all year and only made an appearance for the month of December—thus preserving their magic and novelty year to year. And once we one-by-one moved out of my parents’ house, our collections came with us.
I have continued this tradition in my own nuclear family, carefully selecting a book for each child for Christmas, writing their name, date, and sometimes a short note inside the cover as a memento. This year, we add a new baby to the mix and our collection of books continues to grow.
Most years, I wrap the beloved books in plain butcher paper and number them 1-24, reserving our favorites for the tail end of the line—including The Polar Express on the 23rd and The Night Before Christmas on the 24th. We kick off the season by each child opening up their book for the year all on the same night so it feels more equitable. After that, we unwrap and read one book every night under the warmth and glow of the Christmas tree.
I’m sure some will read this and roll their eyes at the effort and time it takes to select, store, and wrap these books every year, but it’s a tradition I remember fondly, and to me, the extra time spent is always worth the delight and Christmas magic.