Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent Books

A few years ago, we started a new tradition in our home.  We decided to follow the Advent season with a "new" Christmas book each night.  The collector in me really comes out when it comes to books, and Christmas is no exception.  I collect beautiful Christmas books all year long from used book stores and yard sales.  I then add them to our existing pile of old favorites which lives in my closet.  When we are nearing Advent, I go through the pile of books (36 this year) and plan out which 24 we will use according to our schedule.   I then wrap up each book and plan a surprise activity for each book. I also take this time to sort out the books that were not popular in years past or that can be replaced by books with the same story but better illustrations.  In the end, our Advent is filled with old favorites and a few "new to us" books.

Each night of Advent, the kids open a book and do a project that goes along with the book.  This has turned out to be such a fun way to enjoy the season.  We all look forward to it.  Below is our list of books and projects for this year.

  1. The Christmas Menorahs - This is true story about a Christian community that supports the Jewish community after a violence breaks out toward their Jewish neighbors by lighting menorahs next to their own Christmas trees.  Our activity will be to learn the dreidel  game.

  2. Just a Snow Day - This Mercer Mayer book is a nod to my youngest who is addicted to these books at the moment.  We will set up Mommy's snowman collection.

  3. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey - A wonderful story about a grouchy woodcarver whose heart is changed while making a nativity set.  We will set up our nativity.

  4. Winter's Gift -  A tender story about a lonely old man who has the opportunity to help a new life come into the world.  We will decorate our tree.

  5. Jingle, The Christmas Clown - A story about a young clown who performs a Christmas show for an impoverished town.  We will make and have ice cream cone clowns for dessert.

  6. The Legend of St. Nicholas - The kids will be receiving St. Nick presents from visiting grandparents (a few new board games) and attending our homeschool Christmas party.

  7. Too Many Tamales - This is an old favorite of ours.  A girl plays with her mom's wedding ring and thinks that she has lost it in the tamales.  A sweet book about taking responsibility for one's actions.  We will go out to a Mexican restaurant and sample tamales.

  8. The Steadfast Soldier - This book almost got bumped this year for being  too upsetting (although the kids have never been upset by it, but my Mother is).  However, I have always enjoyed it, and it is less scary then most Hans Christian Anderson.   We will be eating muffins with a surprise (a quarter) inside.

  9. The Christmas Tapestry - A wonderful story about a tapestry that helps an elderly man find his bride whom he had thought died decades during the holocaust.  We will be taking my old childhood quilt and turning the salvageable squares into a pillow.

  10. The Christmas Candle - The importance of caring for the poor is emphasized in this book.  We will read by candle light.

  11. Amish Christmas - I love to read stories of how other cultures celebrate.   We will be attending our Special Needs Homeschool Support Group Christmas party.

  12. The Baker's Dozen - A colonial tale that reminds us about the importance of charity and putting forth our best work.  We will bake Christmas cookies.

  13. Grandfather's Christmas Camp - A nice story about searching for a missing dog on Christmas Eve.  I hope the weather is good enough to have hot Chocolate outside under the stars. If not, we can sit on the back porch.

  14. Santa Claus Comes to the Little House - We do not do Santa Claus, so this book is being read to them to impress upon them the simplicity of Christmases past. We will be making snowflakes to decorate the house.

  15. Christmas in the Trenches - This story is based on the song about how enemy troops put down their weapons and enjoyed Christmas together during WWII.  The song is based on a true life story.  We will listen to the accompanying CD which has three lovely songs.

  16. Drummer Boy - A modern version of the old classic.  The kids will get to stay up late and watch the Little Drummer boy video in their pj's.

  17. Silent Night - A lovely illustrated song book.  We will sing Christmas carols and watch some old favorites on Youtube.

  18. Merry Christmas, Strega Nona - This is a lovely Tomie DePaola Christmas Story.  We will have a pasta dinner.

  19. Silver Packages - A wonderful Appalachian story about the famous Santa train.  We will deliver cookies on silver plates to our neighbors.

  20. Christmas Day Kitten - A sweet James Herriot book about a very special kitten.  We will wrap our pets' gifts.

  21. The Animal Carol - This is another lovely illustrated song book.  We will put bird seed out for the birds.

  22. The Crippled Lamb - A sweet story about a lamb who is too crippled to follow the others to new grazing pastures.  He is left behind and is blessed with warming baby Jesus.  We will take the coins we have saved for charity and send them to an organization working with the disabled.  We are leaning towards Reece's Rainbow.

  23. The Twelve days of Christmas - An illustrated version of the song.  We will be making a fold-out book of the Twelve days of Christmas in our own style.  I found this project at

  24. The Christmas Story According to Luke - We will attend the Christmas Eve service at church.

I will share some of the photos of our projects when we are in the midst of Advent.  Happy planning!




  1. I always look forward to seeing how you will celebrate the season, and I love the book idea. In reading through it, I was especially intrigued by the "No More Tamales" selection--we LOVE tamales! What an idea! I will return to get more ideas, but I'd count this one as done!

    Thanks for stopping by the other day--I think without doubt, you are my most faithful blog reader (or at least, commentor!) Have all of our friends left us? If so, I'm so glad you're still around. God bless.

  2. my4sweetums » Blog Archive » Advent Books...

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing......

  3. Once again, you've inspired me, Dawn! I'm going to try the same thing this year, although I may have to supplement with some library books!

    Thank you! I know my children will thank you, too!

  4. It was fun reading that advent book yesterday.

  5. Looks wonderful!! I can't wait to see more!