The 25 Books of Christmas Tradition

Six years ago, we started a holiday tradition with our kids that we’ve actually managed to maintain each year (unlike many others that fell by the wayside). I call it the 25 Books of Christmas, although I’ve seen others call it a book advent calendar.

What it is: The general idea is this: wrap up 25 books, let your kid open one every night leading up to Christmas (open the first book on November 30th and the last book on Christmas Eve). We always read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, but otherwise the books are in no particular order.

Where to buy the books: Most of my books are from the local consignment sales like Rhea Lana, Just Between Friends, and Here We Grow Again. You’ll find them at the fall sales, but sometimes I see them in the spring sales, too. Other places to find discounted books: Half Price Books, Amazon (check out the used option), and Marshalls/TJ Maxx stores. If you have a school-aged child, Scholastic carries lots of holiday books and the paperbacks are really inexpensive and often sold in bundles. If you want to be REALLY thrifty, don’t buy any books at all–check them out from the library instead! Just watch out for late fees!

What books to get: This is totally up to you. I usually add one or two new books a year and retire some of the books that my kids have outgrown (board books, lift the flap, etc.). Our 25 books are all Christmas or winter-themed. You don’t have to go with a holiday theme, though; you could just do 25 random books and your kids would still love it. You can check out my Pinterest board to see some of the books that I currently have in our collection, if you need ideas to get you started.

How to display: Get thee to Pinterest for an abundance of ideas, but here are a few that I’ve done. I haven’t decided what I’ll do this year, but I should probably figure that out!

  1. Forward facing bookshelf and numbered (start at 25 and work down to 1).

2. Wrapped in brown butcher paper with number stickers and stacked to look like a Christmas tree. (Might look more like a tree if you use green paper…)

3. Last year I realized we had enough books for each kid to have their own set of 25 books! So, we separated them and wrapped them in different paper for each child. I have since culled our collection back down to 25 because wrapping 50 books once was enough for this lifetime.

4. The year I had a newborn in the house, wrapping these 25 books was just not gonna happen. So we put them on a shelf and she could enjoy all of them all month long!

Bonus tips: Don’t have 25 books yet? Start with a 12 days of Christmas version and then move up to 25 once you’ve bargain shopped your way to 25! Also, here’s a supermom pro-tip I got from a friend: wrap the books back up when you put them away for the year. Then when next December rolls around, you will be thanking your past self for taking some of the work off your plate!

Julia Willhite
I'm Julia and I live in Olathe with my husband of 13 years, my 7 and 2.5 year old daughters, and a sweet old blind pug we call Boopers. I’m a social worker turned SAHM (at least til my youngest starts school). I love Dr. Pepper, thunderstorms, and talking to other adults. I hate coffee, diet culture, and washing dishes. I'll talk your ear off about the best local parks and which restaurants have wronged me by changing their long-standing menu items. I try to walk the line between knowing a lot of stuff and not being a know-it-all. Some days I'm better than others.