Book Your Christmas Countdown

As I wrote about the Countdown to Christmas book tree for my recent Casper Journal article titled "The Gift of Reading", I realized how excited I was to try it out.  I have also discovered that many friends are trying versions of this with their children and grandchildren.

Here’s how it works: Find 25 holiday-themed books. They can be a mix of old and new, acquired from your own collection, or purchased from a new/used bookstore, garage sale or school book order. You could even include a few library books. Make sure to put those at the top of the stack to avoid a late return! Your book selections might include childhood favorites, new releases or holiday classics. (Tip: No. 24 could be “The Night Before Christmas” and No. 25 could be your favorite version of the nativity story.) Wrap each book separately and label with a number from 1 to 25. Place your book stack in an easy-to-remember location. Each day (morning or evening), have your children unwrap the day’s book and read together as a family. This creates an easy, fun and memory-filled way to read 20 minutes a day with someone special.

I didn't think we would have enough books on our shelves to have all 25 of them Christmas themed, but how silly was that thought?  When I pulled our books down from the shelf, I realized I'd have to cut some from the lineup. I also purchased a few new books for our collection from the last school Scholastic Book Order and picked up a few from our Friends of the Library bag sale.

The inaugural list of books for our Countdown to Christmas book tree
  1. Turkey Claus by Wendi Silvano
  2. The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
  3. Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
  4. Counting Christmas by Karen Katz AND 10 Gingerbread Men by Ruth Galloway
  5. There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell AND There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro
  6. Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini
  7. Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett
  8. Llama Llama Jingle Bells AND Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
  9. The Christmas Blizzard by Helen Kettleman
  10. Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco
  11. Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans
  12. Froggy's Best Christmas by Jonathan London
  13. The Littlest Elf by Brandi Dougherty
  14. Dinosaur Christmas by Jerry Pallotta AND How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
  15. Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh & J. Otto Seibold
  16. Christmas Mice by Bethany Roberts
  17. It's Christmas, David by David Shannon AND Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin & James Dean
  18. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
  19. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer
  20. Santa is Coming to Wyoming by Steve Smallman
  21. A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz  (Kohl's Cares edition)
  22. Itsy Bitsy Christmas by Max Lucado
  23. God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
  24. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore  (Kohl's Cares edition)
  25. The Story of Christmas by Patricia A Pingry

As I was wrapping the books over the Thanksgiving holiday and telling B about how it will work, he wondered why I used books we already owned and had read rather than all new (to X) books, which is a good idea to consider for the future. I had wanted all the books to be holiday/Christmas themed, but you wouldn't necessarily have to do it that way. Any books would work for the book a day tradition.  I had hoped to stack our book pile under our Christmas tree but at this point we haven't set up a tree so I put the books next to the area where we get ready each day.

X had no idea we were changing up the countdown.  We will see if he remembers the old way we did it (with candy and toys) and if he enjoys this new idea.  This morning we used the opportunity to talk about what day and month it was. He opened the book before school but decided we would read it together in the evening as a family.


  1. Thanks for sharing! Wonderful information!

    1. Thanks for my first comment. I will update at the end. X still hasnt figured out that they are all books, but I'm sure it won't be long. Right now he thinks the small gift on the bottom is a cell phone. ;)

  2. Going through our books tomorrow! Great idea. The kids probably won't even remember half of their current holiday books.


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