This is the sixth in a series about enjoying the holidays with your kids. If you are new to this series, start here.
Years ago, my friend Sharon shared several of her family Christmas traditions that I thought were just genius. My favorite was her story-a-day tradition. As she packed up Christmas decorations after the holidays, Sharon would wrap all of the kids’ Christmas books in leftover paper. The wrapped books were pulled out at the beginning of the following December and her kids opened one book per day to read together before bedtime. Brilliant. Wrapping things the kids already owned? Reading a Christmas story together at the end of the day? What’s not to like?
My older kids had far outgrown picture books by the time I learned about this tradition. But when Gus and Théa were born, we got right to it.
We started small during the twins' second Christmas. I bought three or four board books in the dollar bin at Target and wrapped them up. Every few days towards the end of December, one of the kids would tear into a book. They mostly chewed on those first books but we did read them together at bedtime. The next year, we added more books to the collection. The kids opened a book about every other day. Last year, we added enough books to have 24 total, allowing the kids to open a book every night before bed.
I am not as organized as Sharon and can never seem to get my books wrapped when I’m putting away my Christmas decorations. But they do get wrapped every year and left in a basket in the living room. This year, I will substitute out any books that are too young with a few new books. I may even hit up the local library for books to add to the rotatation.
I love this tradition almost as much as my kids do. I hope you will enjoy it too. Want a place to start? Here are some of our favorites.
Christmas classics (clockwise from top left): The Sweet Smell of Christmas (a scratch and sniff book that I loved as a kid and that is definitely one of my kids' favorite books), How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Richard Scarry's Best Christmas Book Ever (the kids spend hours looking at the pictures in this book).
Kid Favorites (clockwise from top left): The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, Olive, the Other Reindeer, Merry Christmas Mom and Dad, Olivia helps with Christmas, and Snowmen at Christmas.
And P.S.? If you want another of Sharon's brilliant ideas, pick up a box of your kid's favorite sugary, crazy cereal that you would never let him eat much less purchase for him. Leave that box next to his stocking on Christmas morning. What a fun surprise!
Oh, and P.S. again? Check your local library's schedule for this month. Many have a special reading of either The Polar Express or 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. If you are lucky, you might even get to visit with Santa.