Have you heard of Christmas Advent Books? If you have children then I think this is a must leading up to Christmas. The idea is simple. Wrap up 24 Christmas books and unwrap one each night before bed leading up to Christmas Eve. You can wrap your advent books randomly or you can plan which one you have each night. If you want to do it randomly then you don’t even need to add numbers. We put our tree up at the beginning of advent or the beginning of December. Then after I’ve wrapped the advent books I place them under the tree. Here are some of our favourite advent books, in no particular order.
Favourite Christmas Advent Books
The Snow Day by Richard Curtis
When Danny goes to school one quiet, snowy morning, the last thing he expects to find is a deserted school and his least favourite teacher. But that’s exactly what he does find. And what starts as the worst day imaginable, ends as the most life-affirming and magical day of the year.
An incredibly moving story about finding friendship in the most unexpected of places.
Rudy’s Windy Christmas by Helen Baugh
While Santa and Mrs. Claus eat their dinner, Santa sneakily feeds his sprouts to one of the reindeer rather than eat them himself. The result is, uh, smelly, to say the least. Now, Rudy can’t seem to stop releasing windy pops from his backside as he and the other reindeer help Santa deliver presents on Christmas Eve. The rest of the reindeer are downwind from Rudy and they are not handling the sprouty wiffs so well. They laugh so heartily at Rudy’s rear-end trumpet that they simply cannot fly the sleigh as usual. It’s up to Rudy’s super-turbo gas to get them back home.
Papov’s Special Day by Mig Holder
Originally written by French author Reuben Saillens and later retold by Leo Tolstoy, this endearing story has now acquired the status of a folk-tale. The heart-warming story of Papa Panov’s generosity reflects the true spirit of Christmas. It is Christmas Day, and Papa Panov, the lonely old shoemaker, is expecting a special visitor. Things do not turn out at all as he thought, but by the end of the day the sparkle is back behind his little spectacles. A beautiful gift edition of a much-loved classic.
The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis
The Empty Stocking – a brilliantly funny Christmas story by Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobb.
In this fantastically funny and heartwarming story by Richard Curtis it’s Christmas Eve and there’s one very important question on everyone’s mind – have YOU been good this year? For twins Sam and Charlie this is a big worry. Charlie has been especially naughty and everyone is sure that she won’t get any presents AT ALL. But when Santa makes a mistake, it’s up to Charlie to put things right…
Letters from Father Christmas by J R R Tolkien
Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R.Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.
They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining-room; and how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!
Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness and ‘authenticity’ of Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas.
The Nutcracker by Emma Helbrough
This sumptuous picture book is based on the beloved classic and retold for younger children to provide an ideal introduction to the story. This gorgeous book with its vibrant illustrations is sure to enthrall very young children as well as those just beginning to read. It is a delightful present for any child lucky enough to go to the ballet at Christmas, and wonderful compensation for those who aren’t.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean-spirited old man who hates everything – even Christmas! But when three spirits visit him one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is taken on a journey into the past, present and future that will change him forever. Specially rewritten as part of the Usborne Young Reading Programme for readers growing in confidence.
The Christmas Cobwebs by Lesley Sims
This is an enchanting retelling of a traditional German tale, written for children just learning to read. It’s Christmas Eve and all is ready for Christmas – until seven spiders cover the tree in cobwebs. Will Christmas Day be ruined – or can Father Christmas save the Day?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
With a heart two sizes too small, the Grinch is the meanest creature you’ll ever meet. He hates Christmas and the whole festive season. But when he hatches a dastardly plot to steal Christmas, he’s in for a big surprise!
With hilarious rhymes and beautiful illustrations, this classic seasonal story has become a favourite for good reason and teaches readers the true meaning of Christmas.
Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore
It’s Christmas Eve, and the entire house is sleeping-all except one little boy, woken by the jingle of bells and the clatter of reindeer hooves on the roof. As he tiptoes downstairs, who will he find?
Katie’s London Christmas by James Mayhew
When Katie and Jack are woken up late on Christmas Eve by a loud sneeze, little do they realise that they are about to embark on the most amazing evening! Soon they are flying high across London, over snow-dusted landmarks, through the star-scattered sky with the one and only Father Christmas, in his sleigh, with his magical reindeer! But can they help Father Christmas to deliver all his presents and be back in time for Christmas morning?
Norman the Slug who Saved Christmas by Sue Hendra
When a sack of presents lands – THWACK – right by Norman’s stocking he is overcome with excitement. He really must have been a very good slug this year. But after a frenzy of unwrapping he spots a label – and realises that none of the presents were meant for him, but had in fact fallen off Father Christmas’s sleigh. Norman knows he has to get the presents to the family they’re meant for – but how can he manage it on time? Can one little slug save Christmas?
Sproutzilla by Tom Jamieson
Jack loves everything about Christmas. Except for one thing: he does not like Brussels sprouts. When Jack’s parents bring home the largest sprout he has ever seen, things are about to get out of control. Sproutzilla is the meanest, greenest Christmas ruining vegetable ever and now he’s heading straight towards Santa! It’s up to Jack to save Christmas, and there’s only one way to do it . . . He’ll have to eat the sprouts!
Farmyard Tales Lift the Flap Christmas by Heather Amery
A picture book with over 30 flaps to lift, in which the Boot family prepare for Christmas, and Poppy and Sam wonder whether Santa will bring them what they asked for. An interactive reading experience for young children, who will love to lift the robust flaps to find out what Christmas surprises are hiding underneath.
Usborne Lift the Flap Nativity by Felicity Brooks
This illustrated volume provides a sensitive telling of the nativity story which aims to evoke a sense of wonder and mystery in very young children. The detail of this flap book incorporates details such as mice hiding in the corner of baby Jesus’ manger.
Puzzle Christmas by Susannah Leigh
This book provides a fun, seasonal adventure across Christmas Land with puzzles for young children to answer on every double page. Brightly coloured, detailed illustrations in cartoon style along with plenty of maps and guides help children experience the absorbing adventure. It is perfect for keeping young minds active over the holiday season. Answers and hints are on the last two pages of the book.
The Very First Christmas by Louis Stowell
The Usborne Book of Christmas Poems edited by Sam Taplin
This is a sparkling collection of festive poems for children that form the perfect companion for Christmas. The magic of Christmas fills the pages, with a delightful mixture of well-loved classic verse and lively contemporary poetry. All lavishly illustrated by Anna Luraschi. This title includes poems by William Wordsworth, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Hardy, Charles Causley, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Benjamin Zephaniah and John Hegley. It is a lovely read-aloud book to share with younger children too.
Let it Glow: A Winter’s Walk by Owen Gildersleeve
Set in a winter wonderland, follow one child on his journey home through a snowy landscape. Diecuts reveal lights throughout, becoming lit-up shop windows, carol singers’ candles, stars in the sky and finally a star on the tree. Told in verse, this gift book will bring the magic of Christmas into everyone’s home.
Aliens Love Panta Claus by Claire Freedman
Everyone’s favourite aliens are full of the festive spirit and so they are giving away their beloved underpants – shock, horror! Join them as they help out in Santa’s busyworkshop, put neon pants on Rudolph and tie knickers up in the place of stockings. But remember to hold on to your pants – this special pants giveaway is for one day only. Ho-ho-ho! Merry Christmas!
Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan
At each different house that he visits Father Christmas drinks and eats all the goodies left out for him. Before long he really, really, really needs a wee. So much so that he even forgets to leave the presents behind. But he dashes back, delivers all the pressies and flies home at high speed to avoid an embarassing accident . . . There’s just one tiny problem . . . He’s lost his house key!
Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr
Disconcerted by all the unusual activities, Mog escapes to the roof, and there she stays…until, unexpectedly, she returns with a bump!
“Happy Christmas, Mog!”
Paddington and the Christmas Surprise by Michael Bond
When the Browns take Paddington to the Christmas grotto at the local department store, their journey through the Winter Wonderland is full of unexpected surprises. But the best surprise is a present from Santa. After all, who else would find the perfect present for a bear like Paddington?
Join Paddington on his festive adventure as he discovers why Santa Claus makes everyone’s Christmas so special.
Your favourite advent books?
What are your favourite advent books? If your advent books aren’t on the list above then I’d love to add them. Please comment on the post and I can add them in.
A cheeky tip is to check out The Book People, who often have bundles of 10 or so Christmas books for £10ish.
If you like doing advent books then you might also like our Traditional Advent Calendars