This will surely become a new tradition for our family! I went around our house and collected every Christmas book I could find… I didn’t realize how many we had accumulated over the years! I had just shy of 20 Christmas books when I put them all in one place, so I only had to search for a handful more to round out our 24 books. When I had 24 great books, then, I went ahead and wrapped 23 of them. (The only book I didn’t wrap was The Night Before Christmas since that one will be saved for Christmas Eve.) Each night starting with December 1, our family plans to gather in front of the tree and read one of the books. I’m sure our daughters will want to take turns choosing one and unwrapping it… and then that surprise book will be the book for the night!
Inevitably, there will probably be nights where it’s difficult for all of us to be together to do this, but we will aim to do our best. I’m hopeful that it will be something we all enjoy, and I hope to create some special family memories along the way! I have a feeling it will be a big hit and something we all look forward to every December. What a great way to force us to slow things down during the busiest time of the year so we can enjoy simply being together. And the books all have such positive messages to help us stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas when it can be so easy to be swept up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, and stress! (And for the kids… their thinking is understandably centered around gifts, Santa, and eating copious amounts of cookies this time of year. I’m hopeful that reading a meaningful book each night will help them think beyond themselves a bit more…)
If you don’t have a lot of Christmas books on hand like I do and you don’t want to spend a lot of money to purchase 24 (!) books at one time, you could also check out a week’s worth of books from the library. Your family could then choose from that smaller selection of books, and then at the end of the week, you could exchange everything at the library and then wrap those 7 new books. That way you could still enjoy this fun tradition without it costing you a penny!
Below I have shared with you the 24 books that our family will be reading. A few of them are new to us, but most of them are family favorites that we’ve been reading for years. You can’t go wrong with any of these books if you’re looking to expand your own Christmas book selection, or if you’re thinking of giving a book as a gift (one of my favorite things to give a child… or anybody, for that matter, as I explain in this post with 100 Book Recommendations for All Ages.)
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If you are looking to get a few special books and you’re overwhelmed by the long list below, these are a few of our very favorites:
APPLE TREE CHRISTMAS. This story takes place over 100 years ago, and it’s a classic “make lemonade out of lemons” tale. It’s a heart-warming story that illustrates the love between parent and child, and it also gives us a wonderful glimpse into what life was like in a different time.
A CHRISTMAS SPIDER’S MIRACLE. Based on an old Ukrainian story, this book parallels a mother spider and a peasant woman who has no money to buy her children presents for Christmas. This beautiful story really captures the true spirit of Christmas.
RED-HEADED ROBBIE’S CHRISTMAS STORY. We adore this book! A little boy who gets a bit tongue-tied when he’s nervous gets chosen to tell a story at the school’s holiday assembly. Rather than make fun of him, some kids come to his rescue and it ends up being the best Christmas story ever! In today’s day and age where you hear so much about bullying, this is a sweet story to remind us all that there are still plenty of kind-hearted kids in the world!
THE ELF ON THE SHELF: A CHRISTMAS TRADITION. This book comes with your very own elf. Children love this fun tradition! My girls think of “Tom” as a member of our family (they get to name him/her). Our elf arrives every year on Thanksgiving morning, and as the book explains, he watches our children all day long and then flies back to the North Pole to give a report to Santa. He then returns and hides in a new spot. Our girls can hardly wait to find him each morning!! (They wait upstairs until they’re all awake, and then they come tearing downstairs to look for him together. So cute!) I have given this book set as a gift many times.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (* this version illustrated by Mary Engelbreit). This book has the best illustrations!! Kids (and even us adults) could stare at those creative pictures for hours! We have given this book to each of our girls on her first Christmas with a note written inside. I’m hoping they will treasure this book always and one day share it with their own family!
PERSONALIZED WRAPPING PAPER
As you’ll see below, I wrapped some of our books with personalized wrapping paper sporting our family’s pictures – how fun is that?! (I found it at Minted, my new favorite place to order Christmas cards. I didn’t realize they had so many other great products!) My girls don’t know that I ordered this, so they are going to think it’s so cool when they see it! :) Of course, I will mostly use this unique gift wrap when I wrap gifts for those outside of our family, but I thought my kids would get a kick out of it, too. I have a feeling the books wrapped in the “special” gift wrap will get chosen first! :)
I ship a lot of presents, so I like how this gift wrap seems “complete” even without a bow since those always get crushed during shipping anyhow… and let’s face it, after all that wrapping, sometimes even the thought of tying a bow seems like too much effort in the wee hours of the night when I always seem to get this stuff done!!
I chose this option and this option (as you can see below) since I happen to love pictures, but they also offer designs where you just customize the text. The paper is really good quality—it’s thick enough to be sturdy but not so thick that it’s hard to fold. Keep in mind that the sheets aren’t huge, though. They are plenty big to wrap a shirt box but don’t plan to use it to wrap the new family TV! :)
SOME PERSONALIZED WRAPPING PAPER OPTIONS
I love photos, so I chose this option as you can see in the images below. There are various styles to choose from. I was also able to personalize much of the text with our names and things like “Sending Love from NC!”
I also chose the design below. This is a cute one, too!
I love this idea!! You can type in your custom text to appear on the wrapping paper so the recipient can simply cut out and save your recipe… what a unique idea!
I really like this simple option, too! There are various “text only” designs to choose from.
Well, now that I’ve told you all about my latest discovery… on to the books! :)
You can click on any of the books below to read more and to find where you can purchase it.
24 SPECIAL CHRISTMAS BOOKS
The book below includes a CD audio recording read by Liam Neeson, a keepsake “All Aboard” ornament, and a note from author Chris Van Allsburg.
The book below comes with its very own elf… the version shown is a light-skinned boy elf. Other options are available. My kids consider “Tom” to be part of our family!! Not kidding. This is the best tradition EVER if you have kids! (If you’re not familiar with it, the elf watches your children all day long and then flies to the North Pole at night to give a report to Santa. He then reappears the next morning in a new hiding spot. The kids love to find him each morning! Sometimes he even gets into all kinds of mischief! I have given this book/elf set many times as a gift… such a fun tradition!)
The Night Before Christmas is the only book I left unwrapped. That way we’d know to save it for Christmas Eve. My husband reads this with all kinds of fun voices every Christmas Eve, and our girls laugh like crazy, beside themselves with excitement! I have given each of our daughters this book on their first Christmas with a note inside. I hope it will be a special keepsake throughout life and perhaps something they share with their own children one day.
For even more book ideas, don’t miss this post with 100 Book Recommendations for All Ages. Tons of gift ideas with some commentary by me for each one to help you decide if that book is a good fit for you or the recipient. I hope it’s a handy resource for you! I know we are always searching for good books for my kids to read, in particular!
I am so excited to start this new tradition! I just know our entire family will love it. I’m hopeful that it will force us to slow down each night during such a hectic time of the year and focus on what matters most. Perhaps it will become a new tradition in your house, too!
Enjoy the holidays, my friends!
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