Saturday, December 24, 2016

Advent: Christmas Board Books

Our family loves books, and years ago I stumbled upon the idea to wrap up holiday books before the start of advent, and mark the countdown to Christmas by opening up a book each day. We've done this several years now, and it's a tradition that both of my girls love - as soon as they awake in the morning, they are making their selection for the day and tearing into it.

There are some books that I know are only in our home temporarily (especially board books, which will age out as my youngest develops a longer attention span), but I thought it would be fun to share what is currently in our collection. Please feel free to contribute suggestions; there are several titles on my wishlist, and each year I try to add at least one new book to the rotation.

If you are interested in starting your own tradition but don't have many Christmas books on hand and are intimidated by the cost of buying dozens of books, I recommend you collect all year, keeping an eye out at garage sales and library sales (my library is kind enough to have a holiday section, which I go straight to each year). Then I enhance my collection via Amazon (the Amazon links here are affiliate links, meaning that should you make any purchase via these links, Amazon will give me a small percentage, at no additional cost to you).

As our pile is pretty diverse, I'm doing this in installments. The first (and largest) installment focused on the general interest Christmas books, which was followed up with a list of books that celebrate the winter season. Here is a collection of our board books, and soon I'll show you our nativity books.

Also, one suggestion (that I have yet to implement myself): when you're packing away the books for the year, I suggest taking the time to wrap them then, so you're not rushing yourself once Advent rolls around again (one year I was wrapping some books every few days, as I didn't have enough time to do them all before we began). Otherwise, I'm hoping to sew reusable bags to easily insert them in, so as to save time and eliminate the wrapping paper waste.

The Christmas Story (lift-the-flap book)
This is a simple nativity story, purchased when my girls were young so that I could let them pore over the book without worrying about damage to the pages. Pages alternate between having some texture to engage the child (feel the donkey's soft coat, etc) or a flap to lift.






The Christmas Story (another large lift-the-flap book)
This is another nativity story. In this one, each page has half a dozen different flaps to explore. The story of the birth of Jesus is told, but each page also offers a handful of questions to guide the child ("What baby animals can you find? How many shepherds do you see?").






Dora's Counting Christmas
A simple counting book, highlighting Dora and Boots as they prepare for Christmas by hanging stockings, baking cookies, decorating the tree, and exchanging gifts.











Elmo's 12 Days of Christmas
This is a cute story - the initial alterations are clever ("three French friends"), but it's difficult to keep up that level of cleverness throughout. All the same, a nice addition for the Sesame Street fans.











The Night Before Christmas and The Perfect Snowman (Read Along with Elmo Books)
These are simple board books from Sesame Street. They're slim and about four-inches square, easy to squirrel away in a purse. I don't anticipate these staying around much longer - they're temporary, primarily because the snowman story is simple, and while The Night Before Christmas is a classic, there are various Sesame Street characters making asides during the stories that I'm always struggling to find a way to include (or, honestly, more often I skip them entirely).







Ten Christmas Lights
This is a simple counting book in rhyme - Gretchen is infatuated with this (most likely because there is a button to push that activates lights on each page).









Winnie the Pooh's Jingle Bells
The text is identical to the popular holiday song, but the images show Winnie the Pooh and his friends out for a sleigh ride; it's a simple way to introduce children to the song by engaging them with familiar characters.










Winnie the Pooh's Twelve Days of Christmas 
A simple book detailing the gifts Christopher Robin gave to Pooh and his friends.




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