Our Countdown Calendar

A Christmas countdown is important to me. I have great memories of an Avon Advent Calendar that we used as kids. Well, I remember my brother running to move the mouse every day and fighting to give me a turn at it. Let's just say that little calendar now resides in sunny Arizona. (Did you click on that link by the way? Those calendars are going for $70 on Ebay! What?!) I found the idea to do a countdown calendar using wrapped books off of Pinterest last year. Lucky for us, we bred a little bookworm. This kid could sit and read all day. Also lucky for me, I too was a bookworm, so I have a rather large tote filled with Little Golden Books. So here enters "The Book Advent Calendar".

Photo Nov 30, 9 34 36 PM

My friend and I started collecting bargain Christmas books for each other last year so we both could test this calendar out. We collected a nice variety of "Santa" books versus "Jesus" books. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of opportunity to tell the true Christmas Story throughout this project but also wanted it to have some of the magic of Santa included. Good thing my Golden Book collection helped me fill in any gaps that were missing from our store finds.

Photo Nov 30, 7 34 51 PM

On the eve of December 1st, so last night, I sat at the table carefully wrapping each book. It was a little more time consuming then I had thought because some of those skinny, little books are hard to wrap! But once it was all completed and the books were numbered (do you start with 25 or 24 anyway?) I was glad I had decided to try this. Of course, we are bunking at my in-laws so we don't have a nice cozy mantle to rest the books on like I had planned. We also have fallen into a bad habit of not reading right before bed (we read ALL day, people!) so mid-afternoon today we decided to let Harvey open the first book. Presents are more fun already this year because he knows what to do!

Photo Dec 01, 11 20 22 AM

We kicked it off with a Christmas Story voice recording book that my Dad had recorded last year for Harvey. He sat with Turner to read it but kept flipping the pages faster than the recording would go. He would dance along to the music though... Maybe soon he will sit through a longer book.

Photo Dec 01, 11 21 02 AM

After reading, Harvey then decided it was more fun to climb in the tote where I was keeping all of the books so he proceeded to play with the tote the rest of the day instead of the book. Kids!

Turner asked me if this was going to make Harvey a "present whore" by the time Christmas came since he will get to open something new every day. Such a dad way of putting things... We are in discussions about Elf on the Shelf too so he didn't want to have to have a bratty, present wanting child and a messy Elf running around next year. I'm thinking the Elf won't make the cut. It exhausts me just thinking about it.

But it did get me thinking about too many presents, will this practice instill the "need" to open a present every day? Even though they are books that we will be reusing every year? I like to tell myself no and that we are going to have a discussion about what we are counting down to and what makes this process special. I know Harvey won't really understand much this year so I am curious how this is going to work out for my friend who is doing this with her almost three year old. She is going to read a Bible verse with each book too to help emphasize the reason for the season. I guess I'll just wait and see how he turns out on December 26 before I decide to repeat this tradition. ;-)

What about you? What kind of holiday traditions or countdowns do you do with your family?