Children’s Book Advent Calendar

I’ve been wanting to do this advent calendar for years…and I finally get to do it!  This will be our first Christmas home since having children, and I’ve wanted to have this be a family tradition of ours since I saw this idea from a neighbor of mine years back.

Children’s Picture Book Advent Calendar: What is it?

24 Christmas Picture Books, all wrapped up and marked for each day leading up until Christmas. This way, we will be reading one Christmas story a night!

Now don’t panic…getting 24 Christmas Books isn’t as hard as it looks. When you can check out Christmas books from the Library for 3 weeks at a time, it makes it rather simple….you may need to renew one time in there, but it still makes for a lovely tradition! And inexpensive too!

And Book #24……is the Bible, so that lessens the load a bit. But you’d be surprised how many Christmas books you already have.  Really, I am sure you have more than you think you do. I think books on winter can even count too… And don’t forget any Christmas Anthologies with short stories in there too.

Here’s a list of a few of mine in there:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

The Polar Express

The 12 Prayers of Christmas

Christmas In the Manger

Christmas is Here

Christmas Day in the Morning

Snowmen at Christmas

A Wish to be a Christmas Tree

God Gave us Christmas

Who is Coming to Our House?

Olive, the Other Reindeer

Oh there are SO many Christmas books that I want to get my hands on….I have so many favorites that I don’t even have own yet! But this year, most of the books in our Advent Calender we DO own (thanks to the need to have a few books for “research” when working on my book) but even still….to the children, these books will be like new since they are all wrapped up.

These books are now in our open bookcase in the basement (thus the really lousy photo…sorry!) But this way, they are in plain visibility. Another good place is the hearth of the fireplace…or in your child’s bedroom.

Anyways…I wanted to share in case anyone needed a good idea for an advent calendar this year. And the best part? It’s either “rented” or a good reason to add to your already established Christmas collection.

Have any of you ever tried this one? It’s a new tradition for us this year, and I think this one is here to stay!

Happy Christmas!



P.S. And don’t forget! The Cyber Monday and Tuesday Sale in the shop ends tonight at midnight!

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  • emily

    what a brilliant idea!

  • linda welcome

    Sarah, Sarah, Sarah,

    My “children” are now 33 and 36. I purchased a new Christmas book each year until they were teens…now I have a great way to separate them.

    Thanks Sarah for bringing me back to the ages of Addie,Ian, and Emma.


  • Rebecca@RootsAndWingsCo

    I have done a version of this tradition since I first had children and I LOVE it! I actually have a folder of 24 short Christmas stories. We read through those, one each night. Then, I also have a HUGE selection of Christmas books that I display for the whole month and we read from those whenever the mood strikes us (which is many times a day)! Your children will love this!

  • Emily

    I am doing this! I just had a similar idea last night then came to visit your blog and your ideas made it even BETTER! LOVE the idea of wrapping each book. And thanks for the book recommendations as well! :o)

  • Megan K. Bickel

    I LOVE this idea! Wonderful!

  • Amy

    Love, love, love this idea! Thank you.

  • Cheryl Burchett

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for this creative, educational, WONDERFUL, inexpensive idea!!! I decided to do an advent calendar with my daughter and had decided to do a collection of 24 packages for her to open, but had not settled on what to put inside the packages. Money and time are tight and I hate using candy as the prize for everything. I looked on my library website and there were almost 200 children’s christmas books at my local branch alone!!! I was even able to request that they hold 14 for me so I can just pick them up very quickly and get started. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! You are my favorite crafty elf today!

  • Gab

    That is such a BEAUTIFUL idea!! xxx

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  • Lucy

    I love, love, love this idea! I have a collection of children’s Christmas books, and this is the perfect way to use them. Some of my favorites that you haven’t listed are: Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert E Barry, Christmas! by Peter Spier, The First Christmas by Tomie DePaola, Petunia’s Christmas by Roger Duvoisin, and Santa’s Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki and Ivan Gantschev. Now to wrap up all my books… Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  • Kay

    Brilliant and beautiful, I love it!

  • Gaynell

    Fantastic idea! I will be pulling the books together today! I always put out a basket of Christmas books, but this is such a special approach.

  • Jake

    My wife’s been doing this for the last few years and the kids LOVE it. Except she hides the books and each night they open a hint and have to run and find it.

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  • Bethany

    I love this idea and I have been telling everyone about it too! Another good resource for books are second hand stores and Paperback Swap. I have gotten lots of great kids books from both of those places!

  • Kim Yamaguchi

    What a FABULOUS idea!!!!!!!

    (am totally going to copy it)

  • Marta

    I love this project and I love books, so, I might try to do it next year. Christmas are so different when you have children! Have a good weekend! Regards from Barcelona, Spain,

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  • Rachel / cREaTe

    this is so smart & sweet. love the idea of checking them out from the library!!!! and the way you wrapped them up with the little gift tags …. oh it’s so precious! LOVE IT. will have to keep this in mind for next year!!!!!

  • Stephen Deren

    For any other moms looking for random holiday ideas now that their kids are home for winter break, the burger crafts I found on this recipes for kids site went down rather well if I do say so myself!

  • Wendy O

    I did this! It has turned out to be fun but unexpectedly it helped diffuse arguments about who would open each book! We have the Lego advent—so my 8 yr. old opens and puts those together in the morning. The book advent “belongs” to the 3 yr. old, at night. No fights! Everybody’s happy!

  • Tarin Rafferty

    This is such a great idea I just had to share it with my friends on my Library Project blog. PS I love your illustrations And your tastes in books!

  • vanessa @ silly eagle books

    I LOVE this idea!! Definitely going to start the tradition next year. Right now, I’ve just placed all the christmas books in a basket by my daughter’s bed, but this would make it so much more exciting.
    Here’s a list of some of our favorites:

  • Sarah Jane

    Absolutely in love with this idea! Can’t wait til my kids are a little older to start this. I may just start it next year anyway! Definitely plan to share this on my blog! Thanks!

  • kimberly

    We’ve acquired several Christmas books over the years with this very idea in mind, however, our little guys sometimes get hooked on the same 2 or 3 stories on repeat, so we simply keep the books unwrapped and accessible. It’s fun to see how their favorites evolve from year to year, thought our oldest is only 4! Snowmen at Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, 9 Days to Christmas, Who is Coming to Our House, Christmas Day in the Morning, The Christmas Tapestry, and of course Grinch and Polar Express are some of our collection.

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  • Dorothy

    This is a good idea, I really love it

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  • Lady in a Smalltown

    I have been building a library of books for this advent activity since before my son was born. I also have Hanukkah books and books about snow. I have been looking for books about Kwanzaa, but I live in a not very diverse community so they have been harder to find locally. If we have enough we will do the whole month of December and hopefully end with a new year’s book.

  • Kelsey

    What a wonderful idea. We are starting the tradition this year at our house. You can see what we are reading by checking out this post:

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  • Gaia

    Oh my gosh, I love this idea. We don’t have any kids yet, but I’m tempted to do it just for us! We’ll read to the dog:)

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    Thanks for every other informative site. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I have a mission that I am just now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.

  • Joanna Flash

    I can’t wait to buy my daughter ‘Ratburger’ for Christmas. I will be giving it to her on Christmas Eve along with Belstarr The Lost Toymaker, a Christmas book for children everyone is raving about on Goodreads and Squidoo, it has been compared to ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ because of it’s beautiful Rhyme. Well done David Walliams, the ‘Ratburger’ cover looks splendid.

    • Miss F

      I’ve heard about the Belstarr book. Amazing trailers on you tube as well. Think I will get it for my nephew, he loves the Grinch who stole Christmas. Who are Wolf Hawk Writing?

  • Adele

    I have to agree with Joanna. I stumbled across Belstarr the lost toymaker myself on amazon. Bought it for my friends daughter, who also adored it. A refreshing new Christmas story. Thumbs up to wolf-hawk. Adele x

  • Kayleigh Stone

    I downloaded Belstarr The Toymaker on Kindle a few weeks ago. My children got very excited about the characters. They keep asking me…. mom…. how long until Christmas? Will you read the Belstarr book to us again? I noticed that Wolf Writing had published Belstarr on createspace independent in paperback as well, the book obviously self published, but i feel i must buy this also. Roll on Christmas.

  • Miss Wickham

    Informative thread Sarah Jane. I rated Belstarr The Lost Toymaker 5 stars last week on It is a lot like the Grinch and Polar Express, a real hit with all the children in my class at school in the build up to Christmas.

  • Marci Chapman

    SarahJane, do you have these adorable tags available for download anywhere in your shop? I love them, and would love to have them! Thanks.