It’s not unusual for me to get overly enthusiastic. I get overly enthusiastic about all sorts of things. Tea, Fleetwood Mac, stripes, TED talks, french anything and mechanical pencils, for example. But I’m surprised to be as wildly enthusiastic as I am about Christmas this year. I am SO enthusiastic. I want it to be December already. I want to eat fruit mince pies and hang up stockings. I want a big fluffy pine tree dropping needles all over the carpet. I blame the tiny humans who keep begging me to please ask Santa for impossible things like actual, real, working wings “with sparkles and roses”. It’d be pretty difficult to rock a bah humbug vibe with their mucky, ruddy, wide-eyed, full-of-wonder faces staring up at you. So, with my enthusiasm running completely out of control, I’ve already got the jump on this year’s advent calendar.
When I was a kid we had a string of tiny numbered stockings and took turns revealing the contents inside. There were three of us kids so every third stocking was mine. I now cannot recall exactly what Mum put into those stockings (lollies, chocolates probably?) as my anticipation is much more memorable than the actual results. I read about book advent calendars last year (in Good Magazine) and was sold on the idea. Christmas! Books! Christmas books!!!! You can see my issue with enthusiasm (I had restrain myself on the number of exclamation marks).
So here is my little how-to in case the idea of wrapping 25 books about Christmas fills you with glee too.
You will need:
Paper (I used cheap brown craft paper)
Tape (I used striped washi tape)
Treats** (I alternated using chocolate pretzels, biscuits, marshmallow sticks, jellybeans and freddo frogs)
Baking paper (for wrapping any treat that isn’t already wrapped)
String or ribbon (I used a striped string I bought at Trade Aid because of my stripes obsession. You could go way silkier or slinkier or flouncier)
Stamps (I stamped my girls’ initials on our parcels to indicate whose turn it was to open a package. Hopefully that’s an argument saver)
Wrap your book, write a number on the paper, Bob’s your Uncle! It’s that easy. A bit time-consuming but simple.
* Tips for sourcing books: I had a few books already that I had stored away. I try to buy one nice hardback Christmas picture book each year (some are new, some are secondhand) and write a note in the front about where we were for Christmas that year and who we spent it with. The rest of the books I requested online from the library which I then just went and picked up from our local branch. I love you, Auckland libraries! (And I will be taking the books we get through back before Christmas I promise, so other families can enjoy them too). You could sub in books about the season you’re in, other religious celebrations around this time of year, values / lessons you want them to appreciate – it’s all up to you and your family. But in case you want some ideas about Christmas-specific books to buy and save and cherish my current favourite is this one – The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit – a re-imagining of Beatrix Potter’s favourite leporid by actor Emma Thompson which you might remember from this post. I also got great ideas for books to seek out from this post by Design Mom and this one by Melissa from Julia’s book bag.
** Explanation about treats: I wasn’t planning on putting sugar-loaded goodies into the book advent calendar. Until I mentioned it to a friend and her entire face fell -“What about…the chocolate?!” She was so aghast I found myself bowing to imagined pressure and putting them in. It may have been an excuse to buy and devour large quantities of chocolate-covered pretzels. I am not suggesting you do the same and the treat inclusion is entirely up to you.
Hopefully the girls love opening the packages and get as excited about the books as they do about the treats inside (I’m not holding my breath on that one). They are already peeking and prodding at the parcels, pointing out which ones are theirs to open. The packages look ridiculously sweet all lined up on the hallway table and I’ve added a little Schleich reindeer Daddy + baby pair (they normally feature as bath toys) under a dome to give a Christmas-esque ambience before going completely berserk with actual Christmas decorations.
My husband walked past the display today and rolled his eyes at me before nodding at the bouncing, bright-eyed babes.”That’s a disaster waiting to happen” he wryly commented. Not because he is bah humbug about Christmas but because he acutely understands the genetic predisposition I’ve kindly gifted my daughters. Bubbling, uncontainable, over-enthusiasm. I’ll be lucky if the books are still wrapped by the time December finally begins.
What are your special Christmas traditions? What Christmassy things get you excited? Are you as enthused about booky advent calendars as I am?!? (And if your answer is yes…can we please be friends?)