25 Books of Christmas Tradition

25 Books of Christmas!

This is our third year doing the 25 Books of Christmas and I get a lot of questions about it so I wanted to write up how we do it and share some ideas for where to buy the books and how to display them!

What it is:  Like most crafty mom ideas, this one came from Pinterest.  The general idea is this- wrap up 25 books, let your kid open one every night leading up to Christmas (so open first book on November 30th, last book on Christmas Eve).  We always read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” on the 24th but otherwise the books are in no particular order.

Where to buy the books:  Most of my books are from the local consignment sales.  Kansas City Moms, I’ve had the best luck finding holiday books at the Just Between Friends Overland Park sale.  They are in a bin marked “Christmas books.” Go to the presale for the best selection. You’ll find them at the fall sale but sometimes I see them in the spring sale too.  Other places to find books: Half Price Books, Amazon (check out the used option, you can find titles for super cheap there), and Marshalls/TJ Maxx also has a great selection of holiday books at a discounted rate.

What books to get:  This is totally up to you.  I do NOT buy a new set of 25 books a year.  Props to you if you are bout that life but I am not, lol.  I usually add one or two new books a year and retire some of the books that Gretchen has outgrown (board books, lift the flap, etc).  Our 25 books are all Christmas or winter themed.  I know some that don’t go for a theme but just 25 random books.  I keep with the theme and after the holiday season is over the books go in a bin back to the basement.  So they are “new” every year.

Here are the books I am using this year.  For a complete list of all the books we’ve used since starting the tradition check out my board on Pinterest.

  1. Twas the Night Before Christmas
  2. Olivia Helps Save Christmas
  3. Frosty the Snowman
  4. Angelina’s Christmas
  5. Llama Llama Holiday Drama
  6. Christmas Wombat
  7. The Twelve Days of Christmas
  8. How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?
  9. Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
  10. The Polar Express
  11. Snowmen at Christmas
  12. Madeline’s Christmas
  13. Bear Stays Up for Christmas
  14. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
  15. Snowmen at Night
  16. Merry Christmas Everybody (a Grover story)
  17. Corduroy’s Christmas
  18. The Littlest Christmas Tree
  19. Merry Christmas Curious George
  20. Chick n Pug Christmas
  21. Madeline in Texas
  22. Clifford’s First Christmas
  23. A Charlie Brown Christmas
  24. Paddington Bear and the Christmas Surprise
  25. My March to the Manger

How to display your books: Pinterest is full of ideas for this, but here are the ways I’ve done it.

2013:  Wrapped each book and numbered them.  Displayed them in Gretchen’s front facing bookshelf.


2014:  Wrapped each book but did not number them.  Placed them in a basket under the tree. Let Gretchen pick a random book each night.  (She was 2 so telling her which book to choose was not gonna happen).


2015:  Laziness won out and I did not wrap the books this year!  Instead I put the name of each book in one of these little envelopes from an advent kit I got at Michaels on clearance last year.  She will open the envelopes from 25 down to 1 (good way for her to practice her numbers!) and we will bring her the book from wherever we decide to stash them.


Anyone else do this tradition?  Would love to know what books you use and how you display them!


Gretchen’s First Christmas

In an effort to not go overboard at Christmas, which I know I am fully capable of doing considering how much I love to buy gifts for people (one of my love languages for sure!) I decided to start the “want, need, wear, read” gift tradition that many are doing nowadays.  In addition, Gretchen will get an ornament every year, just like my mom gave us when we were growing up.  I give Tyler a new ornament every year too, usually related to a vacation we took, big life change, interest/hobby, etc.  This year he got this one:

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Here’s what Gretchen is getting for her first Christmas:

want: personalized bookplates.  Okay so Squirmy is a little young to want anything other than a bottle and something to stare at, so really this is something that I want for her 🙂  For the yearly books she will get we’ll put one of these bookplates inside the cover, establishes those books are “keepers”!  Obviously hers won’t say “Sarah” on them 🙂

Personalized Vintage Blue Bird Bookplates


need: banana toothbrush.  True Squirms has 0 teeth for now (and that is totally fine by me!) but hopefully in a few months she will have some and need to start brushing!  I hear great things about this as a brush and a teething toy.

Baby Banana Bendable Training Toothbrush, Infant

wear: pajamas!  I know many people give their kids Christmas themed jammies every year but I like to keep Christmas clothes confined to Christmas so I got these instead.  $9 at Children’s Place and I got size 3-6 so they will fit thru the spring.

$9 jammies for christmas!

read:  On The Night You Were Born.  Gretchen already has many many books, including lots of classics.  But really they are my books and I may keep some, sell some, donate some, etc. as she gets older and we want to get new ones that spark her interest.  I decided I wanted to give her a book every Christmas for her to keep for her personal collection.  That way she’ll have a nice set of about 18 classic books to read to her own kids someday.  I asked for recommendations on books from friends and this one was mentioned several times.  Can’t wait to read it with her on Christmas!

ornament: Baby’s First Christmas.  I don’t typically buy Hallmark Ornaments but this one called to me.  Elephants are all the rage for babies this year 🙂  Probably all but one of Gretchen’s pj’s have elephants on them so I thought this was fitting.

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What did you give your baby for his or her first Christmas?  Did you establish any traditions the first year or have they evolved over time?

Christmas outfit

Dressing little girls is so much fun I can’t stand it.  I’ve been keeping an eye out for a Christmas dress for Gretchen’s first Christmas for the last few weeks.  Checked all the usual spots and cruised Ebay a couple of times a week too  (tons of new with tags clothes on there for great prices).  I am just not a big fan of the typical red and black or red and green plaid dresses.  Or velour (shudder).  And even though Tyler said a pink dress would be fine since there are pink candles in the advent wreath (lol) I knew I wanted something in typical Christmas colors, just not plaid.  Here’s what I bought, can’t wait to see Miss Gretchen in it come December!

Gretchen's Christmas outfit

dress: Zara
cardigan: Old Navy
tights: Old Navy
jacket: Gap (purchased at consignment sale)
hairbow: Lulu and Cha Cha on etsy of course

Dress was a splurge at $40 but paid for with money I made selling some cloth diapers we don’t need.  Old Navy items were a steal with their 30% off stuff and save sale + a $10 reward credit.  I got the hairbow 30% off last month when she was running a sale.

Christmas Decor 2010

I’ve had our Christmas decor up for a couple of weeks now but it’s rare my house is clean enough that I can photograph any of it 😉  I keep meaning to add more to our mantle but I think I will leave that for next year, give me something to look forward to since Tyler says 2 trees is our max!  (we shall see…maybe I can sneak in some small ones 😉 )  I picked up a second tree and lots of ornaments on clearance at Target last year and this year I was able to bust it out and do my first themed tree.  Silver, white, and I added some apple green ornaments too.  New white tree skirt was a Black Friday deal at $16 from Kohls.

we really need to move all the ornaments up about a foot from the bottom, Boopers keeps pulling off the snowflakes.

more green white and silver on the shelves

and in the dining room I put our original tree with all my childhood ornaments

our growing Christmas card collection, I tape them to the pantry door.  This year we are doing a pug card exchange, thus the lack of human beings.

Speaking of cards, here are the Shutterfly designs we ended up with this year