Advent calendars start counting down the days until Christmas tomorrow. One by one, little doors will be opened by excited little hands, little envelopes plucked off string. We’ve continued to practice our Advent calendar tradition for six years now, choosing little envelopes filled with activities that encourage family togetherness and community giving.
However this is the first year in four years we won’t be opening a book a day. I previously wrapped 24 books, placed them under the tree, and each night we’d open one, reading it together before bedtime. I loved this tradition, as did the boys, but we’ve outgrown it just a little bit.
And also, I’m trying to slow down, to focus on a more mindful Christmas. I couldn’t bring myself to wrap 24 books. Again.
Now, don’t worry about us. Our large and always increasing library of Christmas books still sits next to the Christmas tree, all unwrapped and ready to be read whenever the boys so desire (along with a number of Christmas coloring books). I’m sure we’ll read through a number of them, and the boys already picked over the box earlier today, remembering their favorites and giggling.
But, I thought perhaps we’d approach reading a little bit different this year.
We added Ann Voskamp’s book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift last year. The boys did well with the readings, and I feel as though we’ll keep this as part of our tradition this year. I think we’ll move it to the morning, however, to start our day off on the right foot. The morning reading also allows for us to attempt chapter books and poems at bedtime without feeling like we have to jam all the reading in without enjoying the process.
I’m considering starting to read Greenglass House with the boys, though it seems to have some heavy adoption themes. Maybe we’re ready to start tackling heavy adoption themes in a safe place, like a living room softly lit by Christmas decorations. Or not. I need to finish my pre-read first. We’re also going to read poems from Santa Clauses and Winter Poems. I love adding poetry to our family reading time, so finding another one to add into the mix feels just right.
Letting go of the unwrapping a book each night feels kind of big, like letting go of little boys’ hands in parking lots and realizing your daughter is now taller than you. But it’s time. I’ve passed the wrap-a-book tradition on to others, to family and friends, who will use the tradition with their own families for as long it works.
I’m looking forward to expanding our Christmas reading, to experiencing the holiday season as a family, to serving others, to being part of our community, to celebrating our traditions as they come… and go.