Celebrations, Everyday Life, Two Legged Fun

12 Kids Holiday Book Favorites

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We have begun our 2nd annual Christmas Book Countdown to Christmas and I wanted to share some of my favourites for those looking to build your own Christmas book collection.

When I decided to do the book countdown last year I had very few Christmas books.  I bought a handful at Costco, picked a few special ones at the bookstore and then rounded things out with Christmas books I picked up at the Dollar Store.  I will keep adding a couple each year as the kids outgrow the baby board books and I come across new books I know they might enjoy.

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For our countdown, my children will open one new book a night and then we will usually pick from the other previously unwrapped Christmas books as their second bedtime story.  Most of those on my list got re-read several times last Holiday season and I look forward to reading them all again over the next few weeks.

 

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1.  ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore and Illustrated by Jon Goodell

This is such a holiday classic that I think it should be a staple in any Christmas book collection.  I absolutely love this version because it has fun holographic images throughout the book for the kids.  It is beautifully illustrated and Clement Moore’s classic rhymes flow easily off the tongue.

 

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2.  How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess

Another holiday classic, Dr. Suess’ Grinch has been delighting children for decades.  We have both the animated and live action movie versions, but there is something to be said for cuddling up and reading the book together.

 

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3.  Santa is Coming to Edmonton written by Steve Smallman & illustrated by Robert Dunn and Juan Calle

I wrote a post specifically about how much I liked this book when I purchased it last year.  I love that they have several different city specific versions with illustrations of recognizable landmarks in each city so the kids can relate to it.

 

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4.  Dear Santa Claus written by Alan Durant & illustrated by Vanessa Cabban

I lucked out when I found this neat little book at the Dollar Store.  It shows the correspondence between a young girl and Santa through envelopes filled with little letters on each page.  I love that this book is so interactive and kids love discovering what is in the envelopes on each page.

 

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5.  Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney

We have just recently discovered the Llama Llama series and it is easy to see why it is so popular with kids.  In this holiday version, poor Llama Llama is overwhelmed with the holiday season and the anticipation of waiting for Christmas to finally arrive.  It is a cute story and a good reminder to us parents to slow down and try to actually enjoy things with our kids amongst all the shopping, baking, wrapping and activities.

 

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6.  Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree by Jan & Mike Berenstain

I grew up with Berenstein Bears so I was happy to add this to our collection.  There are a few different Christmas themed Berenstein Bear tales available, but I liked this one for its interactivity.  My littlest still loves lift the flap books but she is starting to outgrow some of her baby board books.   This book allows her to still lift flaps, but has a story that is geared towards an older audience and will allow us to enjoy the book for many Christmases to come.

 

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7.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

For those who know me, it should come as no surprise that this made my list.  The movie is my favorite at this time of year and the book about the recognizable misfits is equally charming.

 

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8.  Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean & Eric Litwin

Another fun series for kids, Pete the Cat is sure to delight in this cute holiday tale.  Learn how Pete the Cat helps Santa save Christmas and sing along to the free downloadable song version of the book.

 

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9.  How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

This fun little tale is new to our collection this year and I chose it specifically for my 4 year old son.  It is a fun read and the illustrations are quite comical.  It is a good reminder of proper behaviour at this time of year without the kids even knowing what they are learning about.

 

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10.  If You Take A Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff & illustrated by Felicia Bond

The “If You Give A…” book series is another popular bedtime read in our house.  This book begins with Mouse wanting to string up his movie popcorn for the Christmas tree and takes him through various Christmas activities before winding him full circle back at the movies.

 

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11.  Merry Christmas Little Critter! By Mercer Mayer

I loved Little Critter when I was younger and I love them even more as a mom because they are short and easy to read when dealing with requests of “Just one more book, please?”.  I introduced my son to Critter this past year so I know he’ll be happy to unwrap one of his favorites character for our nightly Christmas story.  Like Berenstain Bears, there are several Christmas themed Critter books available and any one of them would be a good addition to your Christmas book collection.  In this one we get to see how the Critter family prepares for and spends Christmas day.

 

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12.  Finding Christmas written by Robert Munsch & illustrated by Michael Martchenko

I don’t think you can ever go wrong with Robert Munsch.  His quirky humour and the accompanying illustrations captivate the kids in this fun little tale about a girl trying to find where her parents have hidden her Christmas presents.

 

BONUS HOLIDAY READING

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This book is not wrapped up as part of our countdown, but over the past month we have really enjoyed making our way through all the stories in the Disney Christmas Storybook Collection.  We got our copy at Costco, but I have seen it in Chapters, Walmart and even our local grocery store.  My Frozen obsessed little one was excited it had Anna and Elsa in it, and I love that it helped introduce my kids to many different Disney and Pixar characters in preparation for our Disneyland trip in February.  Each story is also quite touching with a special message about being with your loved ones and the true meaning of the holiday season.

With 18 different stories in this one book  it easily covers the majority of bedtimes in December!

 

I hope you have enjoyed seeing what is in our book collection.  I am always looking to add new books, so please comment if you have a good suggestion!

 

 

Two Legged Fun

Creating New Holiday Traditions: Night’s Before Christmas Care Pack

Our kids are at a young enough age that we are still trying to figure out what Christmas is for us as an immediate family of four.  We now have three Christmases as parents under our belt, and my son is finally at an age where he has a greater appreciation for the Christmas activities we plan and is able to start remembering some of the yearly traditions we might have.

I have been looking for new traditions to start with the kids this year and two of the ideas I fell in love with is were the Advent Calendar/Christmas Countdown from Urban Daisies:

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And the Christmas Eve movie box (source unknown):

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The books was easy enough to do after I hunted down all the Christmas books we already owned and bought a few more from Costco and Dollarama.  A couple rolls of wrapping paper (Mickey, of course) plus one night of wrapping and  we were set!

The Christmas Eve box ended up being a lot more complicated.  It is a box packed full with a new Christmas movie, pajamas, popcorn and hot chocolate to be enjoyed on Christmas Eve.  It would have been perfect at our house growing up where we typically went to church early and then got new pajamas and enjoyed a quiet Christmas Eve watching a movie (preferably Muppet’s Family Christmas), but my husband’s side does things a bit differently.

For the last several years we have spent Christmas Eve with my husbands family and it isn’t the quiet, relaxing evening I was accustomed to as a kid.  We head there in the late afternoon and are there until well past bedtime attending an evening church service and then opening gifts and enjoying snacks.  Santa always visited my husband and his brother’s while they were at church, whereas my siblings and I had to go to bed on Christmas Eve and Santa would come while we were sleeping.  Our own children get to enjoy a hybrid of both: opening gifts with my husbands family Christmas Eve and then having Santa leave gifts at our own house for them to open Christmas morning.

I did consider doing a Night Before Christmas Eve box for the kids, but that seemed kind of silly.  I finally settled on the idea of doing up a slightly different package for the kids to open at the same time we started our Christmas book countdown.

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The bedtime care package I put together for the kids included:

  • Christmas themed body wash, shampoo, bubbles and handsoap for bath time
  • New Christmassy pajamas
  • Sippy cups for their milk before bed
  • A package of cookies for bedtime snack
  • A small bag of Hershey Kisses for a treat
  • A new stuffed friend each to snuggle

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I also included a somewhat lengthy note explaining their gift and the book countdown:

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I am not sure it has help make my children any better behaved, but they are a lot more willing to go for a bath each night and I love seeing their excitement each night as they choose a book to unwrap.

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It hasn’t taken my 18 month old long to catch onto this new routine and she has begun bringing me wrapped books throughout the day wanting to open them.  If nothing, we are getting good unwrapping practice in so she is ready for the big event next week!

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Now that we have all the books, this is something I will definitely do again in the years to come.  I have typically waited until Christmas Eve to give the kids their Christmas pajamas but I love the idea of giving them in the care package to wear throughout the entire month of December.  The care package was quick and inexpensive to put together and is just one more little way I can bring a touch of magic and excitement to the holiday season.

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