Now Halloween is over, the countdown to Christmas is well and truly ON! And though it’s a little early to decorate the tree, an advent calendar is a must-do for every child’s December.
But this year, why not ditch the commercial chocolate calendars for a new family tradition?
Combining the excitement of Christmas with a sneaky slice of literacy, a Christmas Book Advent Calendar is a family tradition that can become a fun part of your family’s festive countdown each year, and something that the kids will look back on with fondness as they get older.
The idea is simple: wrap 24 books and put them under the tree. From the 1st December, every evening your child gets to take one of the books and open it, and you spend some time reading it to them.
Not only a lovely family tradition for you to share, it’s also a great way to get extended family involved – when Mum and Dad are too busy, grandparents, aunties and uncles can read. If you have multiple children, it’s a great opportunity for older children to extend their literacy skills by reading to their siblings (and hopefully having some precious bonding moments at the same time!)
Thankfully this doesn’t have to be a costly exercise. You can borrow enough books to keep kids of all ages entertained throughout Christmas and the long summer school holidays from the library.
Stuck for ideas? Here are eight must-read festive books, perfect for your Book Advent Calendar!
The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
By Kes Gray and Claire Powell
It’s the day before Christmas Eve and Santa is ever so busy … he’s got presents to wrap, reindeer to wake and a sleigh to start. But has he forgotten something? And, more importantly, will he be ready in time?
A brilliantly funny picture book about what happens the night before Christmas Eve. Inspired by Clement C. Moore’s classic festive poem, this hilarious, rhyming picture book is sure to have you ho ho ho-ing!
Excuse me Santa!
By Dave Hughes and Holly Ife
Martha May has marvellous manners. She always says please and thank you … and she most certainly does not fart!
But what will happen on the day of the Baked Bean
Bonanza?! Catch a whiff of this hilarious tale about finally letting go, from Dave Hughes, Holly Ife and Philip Bunting.
Follow me Santa
Illustrated by Steven Wood
Follow Me Santa is a fun-size, festive maze adventure featuring Christmas characters, busy scenes, and finger trails. Follow Santa as he collects the presents, then his reindeer, and travels across the world delivering gifts.
By Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo teams up with bestselling illustrator Jim Field in this stunning Christmas picture book.
Every Christmas Mia and her family read a letter which her Grandpa wrote to her. His letter is a warm, impassioned and heartfelt wish for a better world for Mia to live in. He remembers fondly the times they spent in his garden finding frogs and worms and planting seeds.
But Grandpa worries that all the things they love so much are in danger. His letter is a hopeful plea to Mia (and to all of us) to continue to care for and protect our precious world.
Ho! Ho! Ho! There’s a Hippopotamus on our Roof Eating Christmas Cake
By Hazel Edwards, ill. Deborah Niland
‘There’s a hippopotamus on our roof getting ready for Christmas. And he’s excited just like me!’
Share all the joy and fun of preparing for a family Christmas with your favourite characters from the best-selling picture book series, There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake.
Macca’s Christmas Crackers
By Matt Cosgrove
Christmas is here! Christmas is Macca’s favourite time of year.
He loves thinking up amazing presents for his friends. But when he looks in his piggy bank, he finds he has no money! Macca and his best friend Al have to come up with a plan to make the best Christmas surprise for all their friends, and in doing so, discover the true spirit of giving.
Santa’s High-Tech Christmas
By Mike Dumbledon and Angela Perrini
Santa has discovered high-tech gear. With his techno-pad, a soft reclining seat in his sleigh and a rocket pack, he is well prepared to deliver presents for Christmas Day. But as things start to go wrong, Santa needs the help of a young girl so that all the presents get delivered on time.
Bear’s Merry Book of Hidden Things
By Gergely Dudas
Bear loves the holidays, and this year he’s throwing a party for all his animal friends. But there’s so much to do to get ready – and he is only one very little bear! Can you help Bear find all the secret treasures he needs for his party?
The next generation of Where’s Waldo, this holiday seek-and-find from internet sensation Gergely Dudás will have you – and your kids – busy for hours.