Waaaay back when our oldest child was a baby, we were gifted the beginnings of a Christmas book collection in the form of A Visit from St. Nicholas, a cloth book about Jesus’ birth, and a board book about the nativity. Most years since then, there has been a title or two added, and every single year, the Christmas books are our children’s most-anticipated Christmas box to come out of the attic. They sit down by the little sleigh we keep them in and pore over the books. I love it when I can sit down and read aloud to them from these books that are among my favorites, too. The number of times I have read Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey to little and big people is probably in the hundreds.
A number of years ago, a dear friend who is a little ahead of us in the parenting journey told me about one of her family’s traditions. She wraps up their Christmas books, and each day they open a new book. I had some wrapping paper on hand, so I jumped in with the idea and it was a huge hit with our children. It has become something simple for me to do that seems to create a bit of extra anticipation and multiplies my children’s joy.
Some years the books are wrapped with flair, and some years – like this year – the whimsy comes from the red, green, and brown of grocery store bags.
When I first started doing this, we definitely didn’t have enough books to open a book each day, but that first year I just wrapped what I had, and we had fun with it. The following year, I had a list of some titles I wanted to look for and a library card, so I put it to use. I discovered several Christmas titles were available to borrow from our church’s children’s library collection as well, and I had purchased a couple more on post-Christmas sales after that first year of book opening.
We have discovered that our kids of all ages anticipate the book opening tradition. This year, our first book to be opened was One Wintry Night, a chapter-a-night-read-aloud that appeals to the mixed ages in our family. If simplicity multiplies your joy, and if this is simple for you, I hope my friend’s tradition will bless your family as much as it continues to bless mine!