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Hip2Save This Holiday: Countdown to Christmas With Books

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Hip2Save This Holiday Guest Post submitted by reader, Tera B.:

One of our family’s favorite holiday traditions is also a fun way to countdown to Christmas.

What we do:
At the beginning of December, I gather together all of our Christmas books and wrap them up, numbering them 1-24. I place them in a basket in our living room, and we open one each evening in December and read it together as a family. We always read The Night Before Christmas on the 24th, and on Christmas morning, we read the Christmas story, as told in Luke 2.

You can do it, too!
Not enough Christmas books in your house? No problem, just wrap up however many you have, and count down that number of days. Or you can borrow some from the library (just make sure the library’s books are unwrapped before their due date!). We also supplement with books about winter or snow, or even Christmas or winter-themed DVDs.

I used to wrap the books in Christmas wrapping paper, but as you can see from the photos, now we just use newspaper. If you plan ahead, you can recycle the paper used to wrap your gifts this year to wrap count-down books next year.

What I love about this tradition:
1. We are sure to read each of our treasured Christmas books at least once each Christmas season.
2. The boys are almost crazy with the desire to open presents in December–this way, they get to open one each day.
3. The boys always know exactly how many days there are until Christmas.
4. It’s such a special way to spend time together as a family each evening during the busy rush of the Christmas season. It does this mama’s heart good to snuggle on the couch and watch and listen as my two older boys read to their younger brother.


Hip2Save This Holiday Guest Post submitted by reader, Tracey:

Last year, I was looking for an advent calendar for my kids so that we could countdown to Christmas. What I quickly found out was that they are expensive…$20 or more! I refused to spend that much so I read about a Christmas countdown on another blog that used something I had a ton of… books!

The idea is to gift wrap 24 holiday books and number them 1-24. Then each night, unwrap one book, starting at #1 until you get to #24 which will be the last book on Christmas Eve. You can strategically order the books like I did so that “Twas the Night Before Christmas” ends up being book #24 since reading this book is also a tradition in our house on Christmas Eve.

My kids absolutely loved the book countdown and it brought so much excitement to our bedtime stories. Getting to unwrap a book each night was special and gave my kids something to look forward to each night. It was inexpensive, easy, and fun! It was also a great way to incorporate more reading into the holiday season!


For more information on the Hip2Save This Holiday series and to learn how you can participate in the fun, click here!

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50 Hip Readers Commented

  • sue says:

    I love this idea! I may try it this year.

  • KARIZMA says:

    Love, Love, Love this idea!! Thanks for sharing !!

  • Kath says:

    Love this thanks for sharing so gonna do that

  • Emilytwinmom says:

    I love this! I homeschool and have many holiday books, I am already choosing the best ones in my mind to get out and wrap for each day :) Thank you so much for the awesome new tradition!

  • stacie says:

    Great idea! I live with Scrooge and my little boy and I need great family traditions to include the green one in! LOL!

  • Karleen Howard says:

    I love this idea!! I’m going to do this with my girls this year! Thanks for posting.

  • Jean says:

    So glad you shared this. Thank you!

  • Michele says:

    What a GREAT Idea!! What a great family tradition to add to the holiday season! Will be using this idea this year! Thank You

  • mel says:

    We do something similar, but I don’t wrap the books. I have 1 big book called Treasury of Christmas Tales (has 19 different stories) that I got super duper cheap when a local bookstore was closing, Polar Express (free from a Kraft promo eons ago!), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (free from the kids school Reading Night), Flat Stanley Christmas Adventure (another freebie from school) and The Night Before Christmas ($ spot at Target)
    That’s enough stories to read each night (Flat Stanley is split into 2 nights) Of course, I save The Night Before Christmas for Christmas Eve. But last year I got suckered into reading Polar Express again!

  • Jackie says:

    I LOVE this idea but I don’t have many Christmas books for my young kids. Does anyone have any good suggestions, besides the local library, for finding 24 Christmas books on the cheap? Thanks!!!

    • Dulce says:

      Garage sales, Thrift shops, Ebay, Scholastic book clubs, School library…you can also make printable books off the computer for free.

    • mel says:

      you don’t have to do 24 books, maybe do the 12 Days of Christmas instead? At least until you get a collection of books to do 24 days.
      I suggest Dollar Tree, Dollar General, even the Dollar Spot at Target for Christmas-themed books. Maybe goodwill, a second-hand book store or kids consignment shop.. even garage sales for gently used books!

    • kath says:

      Thrift stores! Growing up, some of my favorite books were from my grandmother’s classroom when she was a teacher, or from thrift stores and yard sales. As a young kid, I didn’t care if the cover was slightly torn or the pages weren’t in perfect condition. I don’t think traditions like this need to be shiny and new, since the memories will be about spending quality time with family!

    • Tera says:

      Try Scholastic–that’s where I’ve gotten a lot of my books. If you don’t have kids in school, just go online to order on your own, or head to the local elementary school to see if one of the teachers will order for you.

      Also, you don’t have to start with 24–build up your collection each year, as I’m sure this is a tradition you’ll want to continue. Maybe give a Christmas book to each of your children every year for Christmas–write a note inside and date it. That’ll make the tradition that much more special.

    • Destinee says:

      I just picked up 2 Christmas books in the dollar section at Target today!! :)

    • MommySpendsLess says:

      How about http://www.betterworldbooks.com/ ? Their prices start at $3.98, no minimum free shipping and they frequently run promotions, especially for their “bargain bin.” Right now their Bargain Bin books are 3/$10 or 4/$12 (additional books above 4 are $3 each). Just type “Christmas” into the search bar.

      I also like to buy the Step Into Reading/Level books for my daughter. They fit great on the bookshelf and they’re $3.77-$3.99 at Target/Walmart and bookstores. It’s a great way to incorporate some favorite characters and they fit the attention span of little ones.

      You could also mix the books with other quiet family activities like board games, puzzles, coloring books… Maybe print the instructions to a new card game and wrap it with a deck of cards (super cheap) – even my 3yo loves War and Go Fish.

      When Christmas is over this year, don’t forget to check out the clearance bargains at Target and Walmart and store them away for next year.

  • Adrimom says:

    I’ve been buying up all kinds of cheap new or gently used books for my kids to do this this year. I didn’t stay with the “Christmas book” theme. I have all kinds of books! The kids will love unwrapping and reading a new book each night. I bought books from a Scholastic Warehouse Sale, garage sales, and amazon’s bargain books. Hope this helps!!

  • Dulce says:

    What a stinkin’ FABULOUS idea! Will try it out this year! Thank you!

  • madason says:

    i’m going to do that this tear and for number 23 i going to use the night before the night before christmas

  • Pamela says:

    Anyone know of some good
    Christmas books based
    on Baby Jesus or around
    helping others? Rather than the
    commercialized or cartoon based stories?

    I have a few Christmas books but not enough.
    I have the Red Sweater (I think that is what it is called)
    The little Drummer boy ( which is so fun to sing and we read)

    A couple of the Night before Christmas books…..can’t remember what else.
    Let us know some of your
    families favorites….
    thanks!

  • Jamie says:

    I’m a kindergarten teacher, and I always do some kind of “Christmas Countdown” with my kids. I am DEFINITELY doing this — and one student will get to open the book each day.

    Thanks for the idea!

  • Jessica says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this!! I can’t wait to go home and start looking for books around the house to wrap up!!

  • Cheryl says:

    Love the idea but what about numbering the books in reverse. The book to be read on Christmas Eve could be number 1 (1 day until Christmas), Dec. 23 would be #2, etc. That way little ones could easily tell how many days until Christmas.

  • Renee says:

    For Christian Christmas books, check out christianbook.com.

  • Dawn says:

    We easily have about 50 children’s books (I collected them over the years and when I taught 1st grade) and DUH, I should have done this before!!!! I think I might actually start on Thanksgiving, or the day after Thanksgiving :) Thank you! Plus I got a TON of Christmas wrap last year from Freecycle (2 huge black garbage bags worth) so I’ll put that to use as well. :) ***Gotta say, I’d still love to get my boys that way cool Star Wars Advent calendar, but…………. we’ll use what we’ve got. :P

    • Laura E says:

      The advent star wars Calender looks awesome! We did the Star Wars advent Calender last year and it was great. It is a bit pricey though…

  • Ashley57 says:

    What a great idea. Someday, when I have children, I am going to do this.

  • Smile! says:

    We started this last year – it was a huge hit! So easy and amazing to see all the fun christmas books out there too – we easily have 25 – some are super short (which is great for those quick busy nights) – others are long for the nights we have more time! I love it and will do it every Christmas from now on! I was going to suggest that Christmas books get very inexpensive right after Christmas – also try garage sales…seriously the stuff people sell is amazing! Or church rummage sales – LOTS of Christmas books there!

  • Kristy Bearfield says:

    I am going to start this year with my 2 year old! I have been collecting books since after last xmas. My local goodwill and kids consignment shops have plenty for about $1

  • Megan says:

    I just ordered a bunch of books through Scholastic’s school booksale flyer, for this very purpose! :)

  • mamabug says:

    We’ve done this for 10 years now with our children. It always surprises people when I tell them about it. My kids are older now so the books have changed over the years. We read some short chapter books now. It takes longer but I really enjoy that time with them every evening.

  • Rachel says:

    What a wonderful and thoughtful idea! My 2- year old son loves being read to and my husband and I will really enjoy seeing him open a “new” book each night. Our local library has a great selection of books.

    Thank you for sharing this with everyone!

  • Michelle says:

    We do the books but don’t wrap them! What a fantastic idea! Thank you for sharing. :)!

  • Kara says:

    I am loving this series, Collin, thanks so much! I’m going to do the ornaments one you posted a couple of weeks ago and I’ll be adding this one too. I love the idea of doing family traditions, but I’m just not as creative to think of them!

  • Tara says:

    We have been doing this for years and my kids LOVE it! I am a working mom and the holidays become very busy so a few years ago I started wrapping the books after the holidays and storing them in a box. That way they were ready to go when December 1st came around.

  • bridriz says:

    So copying this! Thank you!

  • glylibra says:

    i love this idea. I will give it a try =) thank you so much for sharing…

  • Cassie says:

    We keep all of our books and chistmas movies in a box in our bedroom. And the kids are only allowed to read or watch the stuff during the month of december. I don’t wrap them, it is just a free for all (though I like the idea of wrapping them in a count down) and the kids LOVE it. It’s funny how many movies they forget, or stories they forgot they had. So pretty much all of december our lives are christmas themed.

  • Angie says:

    This is a fantastic idea! A gift that costs nothing. If you don’t have enough books, you could always fill in with library books. Just be sure to date it before the due date!

  • Laura R says:

    As a former library employee, please keep in mind that libraries have a limited supply of holiday books. Try to do the library books first (and if wrapping the books, avoid actually putting tape on the books) so that you can return them for others to enjoy. I know that at my branch between teachers and homeschooling groups, our books were usually gone by Thanksgiving. Request them online early if you can! :)

  • Lisa says:

    Excellent idea…I am definitely going to do it!

  • Ren says:

    We do this every year, but do not wrap them as well.

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