I am so excited to put together our advent book calendar this year–a tradition that Nicole Kavanaugh, from The Kavanaugh Report began. Before I share I need to first say that these are not all new books. This collection has been slowly building over the last three years, so you will likely notice some books from last year–I can’t imagine buying new 26 new books every year.
Another thing to note about our advent book calendar is that not all our books are strictly Christmas. A lot are about winter in general, we have books about Hanukah, as well as Kwanzaa (hence 26).
I am listing the book in the order of the day they will be opened.
1- Christmas Is Coming! An Advent Book. Last year I came across this partway through December but loved it so very much that I need to share. There are some bits we don’t subscribe to, such as Santa (read about that and what we think of Elf on a Shelf here) and the first day of writing a letter to him–so we just modify. We talk about Saint Nicolas and write a letter to a loved one who lives far away.
2- Winter in the Forest. We have the autumn version and loved it so much I was excited to see a winter version as well. This is just a really cute, lift-a-flap, book that looks at some animals as they go about winter. Realistically looking, I love how they have different birds, as that’s what E and V are very much into.
3- Owl Moon. A classic that has a few of E and V’s favourite things; the moon, adventure with daddy, and birds.
4- Miss Lina’s Ballerinas. A gift from last year makes this book seem perfect for Christmas–perhaps it’s the ballerina to The Nutcracker connection. Whatever it is, this book belongs as part of our advent book calendar.
5- The Story of Saint Nicholas. A children’s book that tells the true story of Saint Nicholas, we will read this on Saint Nicholas Eve as we talk about the tradition of leaving our shoes by the door. We explain how mummy and daddy will fill their shoes and that we do that in honour of this dear soul–to keep his memory alive and spread kindness.
6-The Story Orchestra: I can Play. When I saw the pre-order for this book back in October I knew it was making its way to our advent calendar as E and V truly love every single one from this series that we have (The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Four Seasons, and Sleeping Beauty). This book will be different as they will be playing the music themselves, on the piano–but I hope they enjoy it as much. If you want a similar book that actually helps your child to truly learn to play the piano, as this only doesn’t show notes, this book is amazing and what we use.
7- Over and Under the Snow. Another series we enjoy and are slowly adding to our personal library as we experience the seasons. This book gives a look and shares what happens under the snow, in the ground such as voles tunnel making, as we, and others, enjoy above the snow.
8- When I was Young in the Mountains. A Reading Rainbow book. It’s part of our advent calendar because simple living reminds me of Christmas.
9-Snowflake Bentley. A book about Wilson Bentley, his love for snowflakes and capturing their images, and how he becomes known as Snowflake Bentley.
10-The Nutcracker. The images in this board book are beautiful and so inviting. We got E and V tickets to see The Nutcracker performed by the local ballet dancers and symphony, so we will be reading this the night prior to going. Last year they enjoyed the story so much that it inspire their love of ballet, so we are really hoping this is a truly enjoyed and appreciated gift.
11- Nutcracker Noel. This was a gem of a find at the thrift store this summer. A story about a young child who comes to realize the importance of their role, regardless that it may not be the most coveted.
12- Sleep Tight Farm. I got this book this year during an Amazon 3-for-2 book deal. As we slowly work towards our long-term goal of self-sustainability and a hobby farm, I thought this would be fun for E and V–hopefully, excite them as well.
13- Lucia Morning in Sweden. E and V loved reading about Swedish American Girl Kirsten (her hairstyle influenced theirs for a time), particularly the Christmas book “with the pretty dress”. So to read about Saint Lucia day I made sure to find one based in Sweden.
14- Apple Tree Christmas. We had checked this book out at the library and loved it so much that we needed to add it to our personal library. It very much reminds me of the stories I hear from my grandmother and aunt about our family, generations ago.
15- The Twelve Day of Christmas. This classic book has been part of our advent book calendars since the very first one, E and V’s first Christmas.
16- Of Swans, Sugarplums, and Satin Slippers. Another thrift store find this was so enjoyable to read last year–one story at a time as there are six, and yes, I do need to modify a few bits and pieces.
18- We Love Christmas. A simple board book of colours from last year, that will be able to go in their room for quiet time reads.
19- A Very Russian Christmas. I love classic Russian authors, so this was a treat to find. Last year I would read one of the stories to them as they started to wind down from coming in from outdoor playing.
20- Latkes and Applesauce. While we aren’t Jewish, we love reading about the Jewish faith as it’s so beautiful. With the 20th being the first day of Hanukkah we had to bring out our Hanukkah books–this being a classic and long favourite.
21- In the Month of Kislev. My forever favourite Hanukkah book. Actually, truth be told, it’s probably my favourite book on this list because the message is just so important.
22- The Parakeet Named Dreidel. Another thrift store find, this book is just too adorable. It was so cute that when I got it this summer it was on the bookshelf for a month or so.
23- The Christmas Story. While I love the illustrations I never liked this telling of the story for some reason, but it was lovingly gifted by Aunt Deb and that makes it worth adding to our advent book calendar.
24- The Day Before Christmas. Okay, this may have been better to read before taking E and V to The Nutcracker as it’s about a grandfather taking his granddaughter to see the play, but with that title, it just needed to be saved until Christmas Eve. The painting reminds us of Degas, so that won us over.
25-The Newborn King. This telling is written in such a way that it’s easier for young children to ‘connect’ with.
26- Together For Kwanzaa. I’m really ashamed of the fact that I was raised to believe that Kwanzaa is just “Black Christmas”. I want my girls to learn and understand how beautiful Kwanzaa is and the important messages it shares. While we don’t celebrate it, I want them to appreciate it for what it truly is.
If you are creating an advent book calendar what books do you find are important to add?
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