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‘Tis the season of hectic days and nights. One year I found myself in this predicament – the tree was half decorated, the homemade gifts I attempted were a joke, and the kids were in “I want” mode. On top of that, I felt pressure to make the Christmas holidays this fabulous family bonding experience enabling each kid to recite the Christmas story. Ever find yourself there? What’s a mom to do?

As a family who loves books, I decided to make books a part of our Christmas tradition. It has become something we look forward to as well as a way to connect, slow down and snuggle each evening. Here are a few tips:

Gather seven Christmas books.

You might need to make a trip to the library to round out your collection. I try to have a good mix of Christmas tales and books of the true story of why we celebrate.

Need a few more books? Ask your extended family to purchase a book for this special family tradition. When you read their book, you can say, “Oh this book is from Grandma and Grandpa Davis! They love you so much!” It’s an easy way to bring extended family into your Christmas celebration.

Wrap each book in Christmas wrapping paper.

There are a couple of ways to go about this. One tactic is to wrap a book each day; the benefit to this is that you can choose a book that suits the day and the child. Is it the 3 year-old’s turn to open? Choose a board book. Do the kids have a bad case of the ‘gimmies’? Choose a book that speaks to the reason for the season. The other option is to wrap all of the books in one sitting and then number them one to seven, or allow the children to choose at random which book to open.

Personalize it for your family.

Prior to moving a couple of months ago, we purchased a book called The Twelve Days of Christmas in North Carolina by Judy Stead as a great way to remember our time there in the years to come. What book would be a perfect fit for your family to purchase? If you have older kids, they can be part of this by reading the books to the family.

You can also search for the Twelve Days of Christmas in America to see if they have a book for a state that you have a connection.

Make it special.

On some nights you can make the family time extra special by making a fire, serving popcorn and hot cocoa or reading by flashlight under a blanket. Another way to spread the joy of the season is purchase a second copy of your family’s favorite book and gift it to another family.

With just wrapping paper and some books you can begin a family tradition drawing the family together each evening leading up to Christmas! Count on some snuggles and reminders of the true reason for the season! It’s a win for all!

Some of our favorite books:

*Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff

*Humphrey’s First Christmas Written and Illustrated by Carol Heyer

*You Are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love and Satomi Ichikawa

*Listen to the Silent Night by Dandi Daley Mackall, Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Bethany is a mom and avid reader, passing her love of reading to her kiddos. She and her family live in Georgia.

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What is your favorite children’s Christmas book to read with your family?