This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.
It’s that time of the year again: time to put together our Christmas advent calendar. This tradition came from Nicole Kavanaugh, from The Kavanaugh Report, and we’ve been partaking sine E and V’s first Christmas.
Before I share the books that will be involved I want to mention two things:
-That these books are new and used. I can’t imagine buying new books every year–not just due to the cost but because so many have become our favourites and must-read.
-The books included are not strictly Christmas. A lot are about winter in general, saints, Hanukah, as well as Kwanzaa (hence you’ll notice 26 books).
I will list the books 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- Night Tree. A sweet book about a family that finds and decorates an outdoor tree for the animals of the woods. I was looking forward to starting this tradition last year, but some challenges made that not possible. I’m really looking forward to beginning this year.
4- Christmas Songs. A new book for us this year. E and V LOVE to sing! We got them this book for the piano and thought this audio from Christmas Songs would inspire them to want to play their own music on the piano.
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 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 Saint Nicholas, to keep his memory alive and spread kindness.
6- 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.
7- How the Villains Ruined Christmas. Another new book this year. While not Montessori, E and V enjoyed meeting many of the Disney characters when we visited earlier this year and the message seemed too sweet to pass up: “Holiday spirit cannot be diminished.”
8- Little Grey Rabbit and the Christmas Stocking. A library sale find this summer that will be read for the first time. It does mention Santa Claus, which we don’t participate in, however, E and V are very aware of him, as he’s alllllll over this time of the year. That’s actually why I wanted to get this book, to help show how some people celebrate Santa Claus. Here is how we handled Santa in the past and I will be sharing a post soon to explain how we’ve been talking about him lately.
9- The Parakeet Named Dreidel. A sweet story about a bird and how it brought two families together.
10- Owl Moon. A classic that has a few of E and V’s favourite things; the moon, adventure with daddy, and bird.
11- Nutcracker Noel. 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- 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.
13- Latkes and Applesauce. This classic story.
14- The Twelve Day of Christmas. This classic book has been part of our advent book calendars since the very first one as it’s a must have.
15- Little Blue Truck’s Christmas. We LOVE the original book as well as Little Blue Truck Leads the Way–the messages in both were fantastic! However, we’ve stayed away from the Christmas one for the last few years due to the animals wearing clothing. Now that E and V point that out and say, “That’s so silly!” I figure it wouldn’t hurt to include this book to our shelf. I know it will bring joy to the girls to see.
16- We Love Christmas. A simple board book of colours, that will be able to go in their room for quiet time reads.
17- 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 heard from my grandmother and aunt about our family, generations ago.
18- Over the River and Through the Wood. Apparently, this is a Thanksgiving book, but I’ve only sung this song for Christmas so into the advent calendar it goes. The illustrations are beautiful!
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- Of Swans, Sugarplums, and Satin Slippers. There are six stories and we read one story at a time. I do need to modify a few bits and pieces.
21-The Nutcracker. The images in this board book are beautiful and so inviting–so much so that it inspired their E and V’s love of ballet. A classic story that needed to be included in the advent calendar.
22- In the Snow. A recent, lucky, thrift store find. A young boy learns Chinese characters in the snow during a winter walk with his mother.
23- 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.
24- The Day Before Christmas. A sweet story about a grandfather taking his granddaughter to see the play, The Nutcracker. The painting reminds me of Degas’ art.
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. While we don’t celebrate Kwanzaa, I want E and V to appreciate it for what it truly is as it’s an absolutely beautiful celebration.