Christmas time brings with it both stress and celebration. There are work parties, school parties, end of year projects, shopping and decorating that make up the intricately woven schedule of holiday madness that leads to Christmas. If there are kids in the house, among the chaos of rushing to make everything merry, will come the constant question… “When is Santa coming?”
After all, in the world of the under 10 set, time can be a tricky, fluid and a very relative concept. With this time of year full of holiday traditions, we have one that doubles down on both finding family time and answering that nagging Santa question.
When the calendar flips to December, it kicks off a nightly ritual in the Hatfield house that is sort of half living advent calendar and half reading project. Mom, Elizabeth, wraps 24 holiday books in Christmas wrapping paper. Each night the kids unwrap a book and read it until they reach the last wrapped book on Christmas Eve.
So for that question, “When is Santa coming?”, the answer is always, “When the last book is unwrapped.”
The real genius behind Elizabeth’s book project is that the books aren’t new. Each year, after Christmas she collects the 24 books, wraps them using what is left on the rolls of wrapping paper and stores them with the Christmas decorations.
“The first year we did this project, I started by collecting all the winter and Christmas themed books in the house and set them aside,” Elizabeth said. “To get our pile to 24 books, I shopped the school book fair, local half-price bookstores, and stocked up anytime I saw an opportunity during the fall months.”
The pile contains some classics like The Night Before Christmas, fun stories like Maisy’s Christmas Tree and touching tales like The Christmas Wish. Sometimes the book simply has a winter theme. Having them ready to go means there are presents to put under the tree as soon as it goes up.
“The kids love opening a “present” every day (plus it’s actually a useful sensory and fine motor skill to develop), and bedtime becomes a special moment infused with all the best parts of the holidays. As a working mom, it offers me an organized and easy moment to slow down and enjoy some special time with my boys.”
Kids can practice counting with the books as they figure out how many days are left until Christmas, and, if you have an early reader, it offers an opportunity to try reading new material.
Surprisingly, Elizabeth says she finds herself anxiously awaiting certain books she knows are in the pile.
The tradition provides 24 memorable moments, 24 fun stories, and 24 times the kids don’t have to ask when Santa is coming!
After Christmas, the books get wrapped up and packed up with the rest of the decorations until it is time to start the countdown all over again.
Follow the link for more classic holiday children’s books.