Celebrate literacy all through the holidays with this Picture Book Advent Calendar Christmas countdown.
Click to Read Also: Christmas Picture Books and Activities to Go With Them
I have wanted to make a picture book advent calendar to use as a fun Christmas countdown for several years; this year I finally got organized enough to put it together!
We had quite a few Christmas and winter themed Christmas books already, and I bought a few more used on Amazon and through Paperbackswap to make a complete 24-book set. Many of the books we already owned I had bought used or through Scholastic book club sales at school; a few were gifts.
You don’t have to buy any books for this to work, though – simply borrow Christmas-themed books from your library and wrap them up to read!
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Advent Calendar Picture Books
Here are the books we are using this year; you can also find them (as well as other Christmas-themed books that my family likes) in my Amazon store. This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
- Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien. I recommend giving this one early in the month as it is more of an illustrated chapter book.
- I Spy Christmas by Jean Marzollo
- Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
- The Animals’ Christmas Eve – Little Golden Book
- Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
- Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
- Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
- Tonight You Are My Baby by Jeannine Norris
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
- The Little Shepherd’s Christmas by Carol Heyer
- Mice on Ice by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley
- The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
- When the Prince of Peace Was Born by Alice W. Johnson (this is actually a short chapter book that works well as a read-aloud book)
- Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin and James Dean
- Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
- The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobblers’ Sons by Ruth Sawyer
- Dashing Through the Snow by David Kirk
- The Christmas Angel by Hans Wilhelm
- The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett
- The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston
- The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers
- Christmas is Here illustrated by Lauren Castillo
- On Christmas Eve by Peter Collington (wordless picture book)
- North Pole Ninja by Tyler Knott Gregson
- The Biggest Smallest Christmas Present by Harriett Muncaster
- The Great Spruce by John Duvall
- Christmas Reindeer Food by Nicole Antoinette
- The Nutcracker illustrated by Valeria Docampo
More Christmas-Themed Picture Books
Looking for more suggestions for this Christmas picture book advent calendar? Here are some books my readers recommend:
- A Christmas Spider’s Miracle
- Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel
- Christmas Around the World
- Christmas Truce
- The Spider’s Gift
- The Legend of the Poinsettia
- The Night of Las Posadas
- Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?
- Christmas for Greta and Gracie
- Angel Pig
- The Night Before Christmas – illustrated by Nirut Puttapipat
Two-year-old Anna helped me wrap everything in sturdy brown paper (so that it would be able to withstand lots of handling by the kids) that we tied up with baker’s twine from IKEA. We did all of this while the other kids were in school, so we are the only ones who know what books are inside. Anna decided to decorate the packages, and the older kids have added some decorations as well, as you can tell in the photo below:
Are you doing an advent calendar this year? Do you have Christmas-themed picture books that you recommend that are not on my list?
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MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.
25 thoughts on “Fun Christmas Countdown: Picture Book Advent Calendar”
Such a fun idea! We kept a basket of Christmas books under the tree when my kids were little, then put them away with the Christmas decor each year. I bet they would have enjoyed unwrapping them day by day!
I love this idea! I did an advent last year of little toys in boxes but felt like it was kind of lame and this year didn’t do one at all… next year I plan to do this, I know my kids would love it and it will help remind me to slow down and take time to read to them each day. Thanks for sharing this great idea <3
This is probably my favorite of the advent calendars we have done!
This is such a great idea MaryAnne and so many great picks! We especially love Gingerbread Baby!
Love it. I think I should bite the bullet and do it this year. It’s probably the last year my daughter would even be interested in something like this anyway. I can imagine how surprised yours will be!
The kids are really looking forward to this – and so am I :)
We haven’t done an advent calendar in a while…I guess it always escapes me. I never thought to do books…and get them from the library! Genius!
This makes a very fun advent calendar!
wow what a wonderful idea! i love that you are adding something special to Christmas.
That is a very fun idea! Here are a couple Australian-themed Christmas books: Wombat Divine by Mem Fox, and Aussie Jingle Bells by Colin Buchanan.
I love Wombat Divine! The other one looks great, also – thanks for the recommendation!
Love this! Adding to my Advent Calendar post!
Thank you, Mia!
I’m always intrigued by this idea, but then I think about my kids’ reaction to my wrapping up all the books and not giving them access……
That’s why I wrapped them up while mine were at school. Yours would have to go away somewhere, I guess? Or do it after they are asleep?
I wanted to wrap books up for our Advent calendar this year but my daughter wants to repeat the book themed Advent calendar that we did last year. Two little men, Christmas and Snowy, brought a book a day and used props to create a scene that was relevant to the book. It was a lot of fun to do :)
What a fun advent calendar!
I am hoping I can do this as well this year! Aarya LOVES Santa Claus, Snow, Snowman and everything Christmas and he is at the right age where he will understand the story of Jesus Christ. Lets see if I can do this too, I do not not have many books, but I am trying to get a few at least!
You can start twelve days or the days or five days before if you want to use fewer books…is there a library you can borrow a few from?
I do not have a library but I do have a few Christmasy books. And I will be borrowing a few from friends. I think I can do a 12 days thingy, with some activities like ornaments making and all added :)
That is such a creative idea. Our kids would absolutely love that. I know we have a lot of Christmas and winter books. I will have to look to see if there are enough. Thank you for the comprehensive list. We have read some, but not all.
Another option is to do twelve days starting December 13th if you don’t have enough books and don’t want to use a library…
I love this! And what a great idea to use library books.
Most libraries have a pretty nice winter/Christmas themed collection :)
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