The Best Christmas Day Countdown Ideas
Everyone loves a good countdown, and one of our FAVORITE traditions is the 25 days of Christmas books. So, today I’m sharing how we modify this Christmas countdown for kids to make it easier. Plus, you’ll find magical Christmas books to add to your collection, and other cool countdowns to consider this year!
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What is the Christmas Books Countdown?
It’s pretty simple. You start with a pile of wrapped books under the tree on December 1st. During the month, kids unwrap one book a night until Christmas. Fun family reading time ensues!
Why We Do The 25 Books for Christmas
We do this kids Christmas countdown for three beneficial reasons…
It’s an Easy Night Time Activity
My kiddos can be hyper at night, and this is the perfect activity to get in a calmer state before we go to our rooms for the evening.
The Kids LOVE it
I never dreamed they’d be so into this. They beg to open the book before we even go to school, and carry on about their favorites and whether they remember books from previous years. I’ll take that passion for reading any day!
It Gets Us Reading Together
Next, I don’t always have the time or energy to read to my kids, but this countdown provides no excuses. During the holiday season, we read to them every night, and I can’t say that for any other time of year. Plus, now that they are getting older, the big kids read some to the little one for extra practice.
And finally, for any kids that are keeping reading logs for school, we also get to use it for that.
You see, win, win, win.
Ok, but Is This a Lot of Work?
With three kids, this is my number one question to ALL activities.
The answer? Only if you want it to be.
If I had 25 books and used beautiful paper to intricately wrap them every year, then yes, this is a ridiculous amount of work! Who are these amazing super parents that do this?!
Instead, I’ve chosen to modify the book countdown to my tired mom standards. Here’s how:
It’s OK to Have Fewer Books
First, I do not have 25 books. We started with ten, and I decided early on I wasn’t going to kill myself (or my budget) to find them all at once. Over the years we’ve received Christmas picture books as gifts, and I’ve picked some up at garage sales.
Now we have 18. Which, it turns out, is perfectly fine. When we’ve read all the books we have, we let the kids pick out their favorites for the last few days. Also, we usually forget a few days when we’re busy, so our kids’ Christmas countdown runs behind anyways.
Don’t Go Broke on Paper
Second, I use brown paper to wrap our books so it can be recycled. And often we re-use the paper from year to year. No, it’s not as pretty. But honestly, my kids don’t care. And I’d rather feel better about less waste and money spent.
Finally, part of our tradition is to re-wrap the books the day after Christmas. We do it together, and then the books are ready for the next year. Key takeaway: Wrapping is a team effort!
Now that we’ve made the countdown way easier, let’s check out the books!
Magical Books for This Kids Christmas Countdown
First, check out our favorite Christmas classics, then read on for specific ideas for younger kids, and other countdowns!
Elf on the Shelf
The Elf on the Shelf book always starts off our 25 days of Christmas books, as it coincides with our elf arriving for the season. If you also do the elf, then it’s a great book to kick off both traditions.
*Grab these free elf on the shelf notes to have extra fun with your elf this year!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Hands down, this classic book gets requested the MOST! It’s also my favorite to read as an adult. So, of all the books on this list, don’t miss out on this holiday favorite!
The Polar Express
The Polar Express is an award winning book on its own, but also fun to read before you watch the movie.
The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
I picked up The Joy of Giving last year looking for more reads on the spirit of giving during the holiday season. This book did just that!
The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas is another must-have in any collection. In fact, we always read this one with our Christmas Eve box (click to learn more about that special gift). It’s the perfect book to finish out the countdown every year.
The Christmas Story
Next, everyone needs a book that reminds the family of the true reason for Christmas. This is also a great read to finish your countdown on the night before Christmas.
The Christmas Wish
This sweet book is about a little girl that wants to be one of Santa’s elves. Follow her journey as animals help her along the way to the North Pole.
The Spirit of Christmas
We love this book because it shines light on the simple pleasures of Christmas and the little things we sometimes take for granted. And as always, Nancy Tillman has a beautiful flow to her writing.
Looking for book ideas by age? Check out this list of best 7 year old books to read!
Snowmen at Night
Next, read this quirky story about what snowmen do when we go to the bed, and why they seem a little lopsided sometimes. The kids will ADORE hearing about their mischievous nighttime activities!
Weird But True Christmas Facts
As my kids get older, I’d love to put more books like this in the collection to mix things up a bit! Check out these festive facts to fascinate the whole family!
Now, this book is adorable. It’s lighthearted, cute, and funny. In this book, turkey ventures to the North Pole to tell Santa his Christmas wish of not getting eaten for dinner.
15. The Tale of Three Trees
The Tale of Three Trees was given to us in our 12 days of Christmas gift years ago, and it has a special place in our countdown now. It’s the sweet story of three trees that wanted to do grand things, and how they did so in ways they never imagined – through the life of Jesus.
Sneezy the Snowman
And finally for all ages, this fun winter book is about a snowman trying to warm up without melting. Kids will find it silly and delightful. Plus, you can keep it out all winter long!
Sweet Christmas Books for Toddlers
If you’re looking for specific books for younger kids, here are a few great ideas!
First, this fun lift-a-flap board book is a great intro book for babies or toddlers to get the idea of Santa. Then, simple sentences reinforce language while the flaps keeps young ones engaged.
8. Construction Site on Christmas Night
If you love the Goodnight, Goodnight Construction site series, then you’ll LOVE this amazing Christmas edition!
Fun Christmas Books for Preschoolers
5. Rudolph Seek and Find
We got this one when my biggest kids were little, but years later, they STILL enjoy finding all of the items in this book. It’s a fun break from lots of reading and it’s more interactive.
9. Bear Stays Up for Christmas
And finally, the bear books are incredible! The rhymes and friendship theme are a true winner. So, read how bear’s friends are determined to keep him awake for Christmas, and see how it turns out.
Other Fun Christmas Countdown Ideas for Kids
While the Christmas books countdown is awesome, it’s certainly not the only fun way to do things at Christmas. So, check out these other unique ways to make the holidays magical.
An advent or activity calendar is simply a Christmas Day countdown using fun activities that bring the family together. Do a small activity together every day and enjoy the special moments you create!
Fun ideas include:
- Write a letter to Santa with a free template
- Make Rudolph or Santa pancakes
- Make gingerbread houses
- See a light show
- Sleep by the Christmas tree
- Bake treats to give to others
- Drink hot chocolate by the fire
Also, most stores carry cheap advent calendars, make your own DIY version, create a holiday bucket list, or just write the activities in your regular calendar for the month. Do what’s right for you!
And if you’re looking for something ready to use, sign up here for my Christmas activities calendar!
Christmas Movie Countdown
25 movies is a lot, but if you’re a movie aficionado it can be done! Enjoy one every night with the family! Here are a few ideas to add to a movie countdown:
- The Grinch (all three versions)
- Miracle on 54th Street
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Christmas Vacation
- A Christmas Story
- The Santa Clause (X3)
- Christmas With the Kranks
Related Post: 6 Easy Christmas Movie Night Ideas
Random Acts of Kindness Countdown
Looking to focus on kindness this holiday season? Do a kindness activity every day leading up to Christmas. Here are some easy ways to spread holiday cheer:
- Sing carols at your loved ones’ doorsteps
- Donate old toys and clothes
- Thank a nurse, firefighter, police officer, or other service worker
- Leave a treat for the mail carrier
Check out more fun ways to spread kindness HERE.
Bible Verses Countdown
And finally, to put Jesus in the center of your Christmas, try a countdown with bible verses. Before bed each night, read and discuss the scripture. At Happy Home Fairy, you can find 25 bible verses to do a countdown like this.
Looking for more great holiday ideas for your family?
Check out my one-of-a-kind ebook filled with 260+ of the BEST family traditions. These activities really WORK to bring your family together and you’ll find year-round ideas.
The holidays are the perfect time to create quality family time! So, don’t let them pass you by!
Something to Consider With the 25 Days of Christmas Books
Like anything, don’t drive yourself crazy trying to make it perfect! It’s the idea that counts. So, pick a countdown and make it imperfectly yours!
And even if your 25 Books for Christmas doesn’t go according to plan, chances are you’ll all be reading more than you would have. And that’s a major win! (The same goes for any countdown!)