I’m a sucker for all things sentimental, so it’s no surprise that when my husband and I decided to start our family, we wasted no time creating traditions for every occasion.
Pizza and a movie on Friday nights.
Moonlit sledding on New Year’s Eve.
Chocolate donuts for birthday breakfasts.
And on and on and on.
Of all the traditions our family holds dear, our favorite of all might just be the one we affectionately refer to as The 12 Nights of Christmas Books.
It goes like this:
On the morning of December 13th, a mini-Christmas tree magically appears in our home with 12 wrapped holiday books underneath. If you could just see the excited looks on our kids’ faces when they wake to find all those square packages waiting for them (insert heart eye emoji).
That night, after we’ve wrestled everyone into their pajamas, one of the kiddos unwraps a package from under the tree and we cuddle up with hot cocoa in hand to read a Christmas story. Sometimes it’s a classic and sometimes it’s a newer title, but always, it’s a perfect way to end the night. The kids take turns choosing a wrapped book each night leading up to Christmas Eve, at which point we read—what else—The Night Before Christmas.
Since we only bring these books out once a year (and so as not to break the bank), we recycle the same stories year after year—with the exception of one or two that I just can’t resist buying. The kids like to strategically guess which package holds their favorite book, and my husband and I LOVE to watch the anticipation in their eyes as they rip off the paper.
Sigh. Swoon. Warm fuzzies. This tradition does a whole lot of good for my sentimental, book worm, Christmas-loving, heart.
If there’s one thing I suggest doing with your own family this December, it’s this. You can use any Christmas or winter-y books you want, but below are our tried-and-true favorites. (P.S. Check out the last book on the list to see what I’m SO EXCITED to add to our collection this year!)
Bear Stays Up For Christmas
This is easily our favorite. We read it over and over (and over) every single year!
Construction Site on Christmas Night
This is a fun addition for kids who love the other books in the Construction Site series.
Eric Carle has been one of my very favorites since I was a little girl, so I am THRILLED my kids love this book as much as I do!
Frosty the Snowman
Because who doesn’t love Frosty? And this version plays the song!
God Gave Us Christmas
This book is a great conversation starter about the real reason for the season.
This is a great book to introduce young kids to the most wonderful Christmas story of all.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
We always stay up a little later on Grinch night so that we can watch the film adaptation on TV after reading the book.
How to Catch Santa
This book is just so FUN. We love brainstorming ways to catch Santa in our own house.
How to Catch an Elf
And if you’re going to catch Santa, you might as well catch an elf to go with him.
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
We’re big Little Blue Truck fans over here, and this Christmas version is one of our go-tos!
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
If you aren’t familiar with this sweet story, you’re missing out!
The Polar Express
This book takes me back to my childhood every time, and it warms my heart that my kids love it as much as I do!
Race to the North Pole
My sons love tracing Santa’s route with their finger as we read this fun book aloud.
The Snowy Day
This is another one we follow up with the film version (which you can find on Amazon Prime).
The Night Before Christmas
And of course, this classic story is the ONLY option for a Christmas Eve read.
We added ‘Dasher’ to our collection last year and absolutely love it! The illustrations are beautiful. You can grab a copy for your family HERE.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out our Top 10 Gifts for Girl Moms and Boy Moms!
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