This is the perfect time of year to enjoy family traditions with your loved ones. One tradition of my family is to do a Christmas countdown.
But, we don’t have a traditional paper chain counting down the days. Or an Advent calendar where you open a little door or box each day.
Instead, at the end of each November I wrap up 24 Christmas themed books and movies. Then the kids unwrap one each night.
If it’s a book, we snuggle on the couch and read it.
If it’s a movie, we let the kids make beds on the living room floor and we have a movie night.
The kids love this family Christmas tradition! And I love spending intentional time with them each evening in what can be a very busy time of the year.
Tricks I’ve Learned to Make it More Manageable
Not every evening is suitable for a movie night. And some Christmas stories are pretty long.
So, I learned a couple of things over the past few years to make this more manageable.
Here’s what I do:
- Put a date on each present so it can be opened on an appropriate night (ie movies are for Fridays or Tuesdays, short books are for Wednesdays and Sundays…)
- Think about who will be opening each gift (The kids each have a day of the week, and on their day they open the present. I have younger kids open the board books, the girls open the ones about the Nutcracker, and so on.)
- No phones allowed (when we read/watch our Christmas countdown materials, the focus is on family time.)
- Purchase one or two new items a year
- Check out books from the library if you need more and buying more isn’t in the budget
How It Works
Every evening, one present is unwrapped. The child who’s day it is does the honors.
Once opened, we snuggle on the couch and read the book or watch the movie. Popcorn is usually involved on movie nights!
What I Love About this Tradition
I love that we reuse the same presents. I don’t have to buy 24 additional presents each year (that’d blow the budget!)
I love that we end this tradition on Christmas Day by unwrapping the Bible. Daddy reads the Christmas story from the books of Matthew and Luke, and the family starts Christmas morning by focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.
What Are We Unwrapping This Year?
Here are a few of the items we’ll be unwrapping in our Christmas Countdown. I can’t wait to get started!
The Home Alone Collection. This is always the first gift in our countdown. Then we have a Home Alone marathon. This year I stayed up through three of the four! It’s such a fun secondary tradition that we enjoy.
Christmas with a Capital C
Some friends gave us this movie several years ago, and we really enjoy watching it during December. The song with the same name is in there. 😀
A Charlie Brown Christmas
It’s a classic. We love when Linus recites from the Bible.
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales
This one has a few different short Christmas movies on it.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
This was one of my favorites from my teen years (because JTT! :D) and I was excited to find it on DVD last year. A spoiled college student tries to get home for Christmas in order to get a fancy car from his Dad. But, all sorts of things stand in his way. Eventually, he discovers something even better than the car…
There are several books wrapped up and waiting for the kids to unwrap. Here are a few of our favorites…
The Story of Baby Jesus
This rhyming book is a cute one. We enjoy the Alice in Bibleland series.
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
A Christmas book in the series of books by Laura Numeroff. We love all of these books, so a Christmas version was a great addition to our collection!
The 12 Days of Christmas: The Story Behind a Favorite Christmas Song
We enjoy singing this song, and this book explores the meaning behind each item.
The classic ballet looks beautiful in these pictures!
The Berenstain Bears’ Old Fashioned Christmas
So many fun songs and traditions are explored in this fun book!
The Best Christmas Ever: Junior Discovers Contentment
A Dave Ramsey book, Junior discovers that he already has so much to be thankful for, and doesn’t need to ask for much more for Christmas.
Reading all of these books and watching the movies is so fun. It’s one of my favorite family traditions.
Do You Have a Christmas Countdown Tradition?
I’d love to hear what special tradition you use to countdown the days until Christmas! Please share in the comments.