Monday, 25 November 2019

Book Advent: Why We Love This Christmas Tradition & How To Create Your Own

When it comes to Christmas, I am quite honestly one of it's very biggest fans and I love to go ALL IN on the festivities.

From planning out my family Christmas party from October, to trying to organise lots of festive get-togethers - I love to do anything I can to make December as fun and festive as possible.

So it probably comes as no surprise that we indulge in all of the commercialised pre-Christmas hype - from Elves On Shelves (We have per child!) to traditional advent calendars, I love it all!

A few years ago, I came across a new sort of Advent idea known as the Book Advent and - as an avid reader who is keen to instill a love of books in my children - I just fell love in with it!

The idea of a Book Advent is that you wrap up 24 books - one for each night of December up to and including Christmas Eve. You place them under the tree (or wherever little hands won't unwrap them too soon!), and then each evening you sit down with your little ones and they unwrap a story to enjoy together.

We have bedtime stories every night any way, but I love how the book advent allows us to make it just a bit more festive and special. There's a real element of excitement added when they get to unwrap their bedtime story!

Some people like to go all out with their Book advent presentation - choosing beautiful brown paper wrapping embellished with Pinterest-worthy Holly branches. I'm much more slapdash than that and believe me - nothing that I wrap is ever Pinterest-worthy, they usually look like they've been wrapped up by a drunken T-rex! But still....the kids enjoy the unwrapping element of the book advent regardless of my presentation.

Once you've wrapped each book individually, you need to number each one so that your child/ren can pick out the correct book each day of advent - as I have 3 children mine take it in turns to open a book each night.

One thing that people are often unsure about is whether the books you use for your advent should all be Christmas related - the thing with a book advent is that there really aren't any rules. You can do it in whatever way you think would work best for your children.

If you think they'd get bored of a Christmas related story every night or you're struggling to find enough festive themed books - then by all means, choose some non-Christmas related ones. It really doesn't matter.

Personally we enjoy the festive theme, and so I use all Christmas-related books for our book advent.

I like to have a nice mix of funny stories, heart warming ones and classics too. 

Another question that comes up a lot is cost - understandably so! If you were going in to Waterstones to buy 24 childrens books, then a book advent could end up costing a small fortune! But there are better ways to do it.

I always use The Book People as, in the run up to Christmas, they sell some very reasonably priced Festive book bundles - you can usually get 10 Christmas themed books for £10. The Works often have great offers too.

You can then add in any Christmas-themed books that you already have - it doesn't matter that the children have read them before, I ALWAYS re-use some of our existing Christmas books every year and they never mind - it's still exciting to unwrap them and see what the story is for the night.  And they're NEVER sad to read old favourites like The Gruffalo's Child or The Nutcracker.

You can also pick up books in charity shops or on ebay for a fraction of their retail price, and another good idea is to organise a festive book swap with friends who might also be looking to do book advents with their children.

This year I bought a bundle of 10 new books from The Book People for our book advent, and the other books are all ones we already had - so it's only cost me £10 and the price of some wrapping paper to do. Well worth it for 24 nights of excitement for the little ones!

And just as an added tip - I like to get the most out of our book advent by being intentional with the books I put in for each day. So when I'm wrapping them all, I go through our diary and check if there's anything special that we're doing on certain days and I theme our book for that day to our activity - so for example, on the day we go to visit Santa's Grotto - our advent book for that day will be a story about visiting Santa. 

And finally - as an added little tradition - I like to make sure that our final bedtime story book for the 24th December is the same one every year - 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, of course!

Do you do a book advent with your children? Do you have any special advent traditions? I'd love to hear about them!

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