encourage the love of reading with…a book advent calendar

This book advent calendar is for the the craft-challenged. Simple & fun, the best part is that it will make your kids smarter & love books even more! #christmas #adventcalendar #book // bring-joy.com

{For more frugal holiday inspiration & recipes–scroll down to the bottom of this post for a roundup of bring joy posts.}

Every family has it’s own culture.

The kind of family culture we want to develop could be summed up in just a few words:

Faith, love, and… books.


  1. faith in God
  2. love for God, each other, neighbors, & animals
  3. &, a passion for good books & reading.

Yes, Joseph & I want our kids to be athletic & love the outdoors. We want our kids (like 99.9% of all parents) to be well-rounded, brilliant, & beautiful.

But if those three things (faith, love, books) are the basis of our family culture, all good things will follow.

One of my kid’s favorite Christmas traditions is our book advent calendar.

{5 frugal Christmas traditions my family loves!}

I have in Christmases past, gone all out & hand made advent calendars of various sorts (thanks Pinterest). But my favorite advent calendar is this one. It’s simple & fun, & best of all, it helps to encourage this love of reading that Joseph & I are so adamant about drilling into our kids.

The thing is, you can’t force your kids to do anything.

(Parenting lesson from the school of hard knocks #1)

Reading is no exception.

It absolutely has to be a natural thing.

{raising boys that read}

The best way to achieve this is by exposing your kids to reading every day, throughout the day & you make it fun! It has to be an exciting & engaging endeavor, not a chore, or something they “have to do.”

{10 reasons to teach your kids the love of reading}

You know when Jessica Seinfeld came out with that cookbook about sneaking mashed veggies into everything from mac & cheese to muffins?

I kinda see this advent calendar as a way to “sneak” books into their mental diet. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love unwrapping stuff?

24 books: the way we do it

This book advent calendar is for the the craft-challenged. Simple & fun, the best part is that it will make your kids smarter & love books even more! #christmas #adventcalendar #book // bring-joy.com

Books have always been a big part of our Christmas tradition.

We don’t do video games (or really any technology other than the occasional movie on Amazon Prime), instead, we do books. And come Christmas time, my kids get a lot of books & it’s an exciting, exciting thing.

(We do board & card games too.)

A few years ago we decided that instead of having our kids unwrap twenty or thirty books on Christmas day, we’d space them out over December & turn it into an advent calendar.

We do a nightly Christmas devotional where we read a few verses from the New Testament, sing a Christmas carol, then the kids get to choose a book. When all the books are gone, that means tomorrow is Christmas!

This year is the first year that every child has gotten their own book each night (24 x 5 = 120 books!).

It is of course more do-able if you keep it to just 24 books total (& the kids just share), but we thought we’d do something a little different this year since we have quite a span in reading levels & I’m really anxious to get one of my boys excited about reading fiction & wanted him specifically to have a stash of books he’s excited about.

Need some ideas for books?
Check out some of our favorite books:

15 must own books for your child’s library

& for a wealth of recommendations & reviews for children of all ages (especially the harder to please tween & teen range), check out my friend Alysa’s site, Everead.

For the pre-readers:

baby book essentials

best 10 books for toddlers 2-3

5 books for preschooler

To be sure, 120 books wasn’t cheap, but I was able to swing it by ordering all of the books through my kid’s Scholastic book order where I got brand new books for an average of $2-3 a piece (their super saver packages & sets are a great bargain). I also earned some free books for my kid’s classroom too!

To make it even more frugal, you can wrap up books you already have (but I really think if you have any money to spend on Christmas, you should find a way to get at least a few nice books!) or shop yard sales, library sales, or second-hand stores.

Though, I’m not going to lie.

We go all out on books.

(Our home has bookshelves in every room. Yes, that was just me bragging about how bookish we are.)

I love shiny, new children’s books & I want my kids to know that we think books are important enough to spend some money on.

Do you do a holiday advent calendar?


Other holiday bring joy posts to read:


  1. Alysa
    on December 22, 2015 at 9:13 am said:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Janae! It’s true, I seem to have a lot for tweens on my book blog! 😀

  2. Alysa
    on December 22, 2015 at 9:12 am said:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Janae! It’s true, I seem to have a lot for the tween on my book blog! 😀

  3. Crystal B
    on December 8, 2015 at 10:43 am said:

    This!!! My kiddo is five and we have read every single night since he was born. He reads on a 2nd grade level and people are always asking how we do it. I think it all comes down to fostering a love of reading and making books available everywhere in your home. I know it drives my husband bonkers, because there are stacks of books everywhere, but the kiddo and I are voracious readers. We have over 1,000 books in our house, digital readers, and visit the library once a week. I order off of each Scholastic book order and I just hit the book fair last night. I probably spend a couple hundred dollars on books each year, but I don’t care!

  4. Melissa
    on December 3, 2015 at 11:23 am said:

    How funny! I was just thinking about this last night. I just got a book order back from scholastic (I always buy the packs or single books that make each only a few dollars a piece) and thought about how I should space them out.
    I swear I enjoy the variety of books available more than the kid does! (How many times can a person read the same book without starting to hate it?!)