Although not as traditional as some, our advent season is filled with family, joy and expectation, just the same. One of our favorite Advent traditions combines Christmas books and a sort of countdown.
Being a bookish family, a book-related Advent idea appealed to me immediately. I first heard about it from the lovely Sally Clarkson of MomHeart Ministry fame, but have seen other people share it since then.
The original idea is to wrap 24 Christmas themed books, and unwrap one each day to enjoy leading up to Christmas.
This is great for smaller kids, because as they see the pile grow smaller, they know that Christmas is getting closer in a real, tangible way.
We have added movies to the mix, just one or two per week, our favorites (think White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Nativity, etc.)
The books are all types; we have the fun, very American ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but also more meaningful and traditional The Three Trees and The Nutcracker. One of my favorites is Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect which encourages service to others.
In the beginning, we didn’t have enough Christmas themed books to get us through, but this is where a thrift store can really come in handy! Over the years we have replaced some of the less-loved thrift store books with beautiful, meaningful, favorites.
It is possible that as our kids get older, the books may get more grown up too, but we will probably still have a few family favorite picture books in our pile!
For our family, to gather together and experience a story has become one of our favorite parts of the Christmas season. It is truly a joy to watch the kids unwrap a book and have their faces light up in anticipation!
Jesus and joy go hand in hand. The angels confirmed it that night, long ago. And this is one joy-filled tradition that transforms us and brings us closer together as a family.