A Family Holiday Tradition: Christmas Countdown Books

By Sarah Hauge, Publisher of Macaroni Kid, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Centennial, Colo. December 3, 2022

The holidays are coming - the holidays are coming! Looking for a family-fun way to countdown to the upcoming holiday? I dug back in the Macaroni KID archive and found this fun way to countdown to Christmas. Actually you could use this to countdown to Hannukah, Kwanzaa, New Year's or any other celebration, just modify the number of items needed as you see fit.

ilkercelik from Getty Images via Canva

Christmastime is filled with family traditions. From special meals to holiday games, there are many ways to make this time of year a memorable one!

A favorite tradition in our house is our Christmas book countdown, a non-traditional Advent calendar of sorts.

It's a simple concept, but one my kids love: Every night in December, my children take turns picking a book from our stack of wrapped holiday reads.

Then we grab a few blankets, snuggle up near the lights of the Christmas tree, and unwrap a book to read as a family. 

Want to bring this tradition to your house?

Here's how to create a bit of holiday magic with your own Christmas book countdown!

Supplies Needed:

  • 24 books
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Labels
  • Tape
  • Scissors


  • Books don't have to be brand new! You can borrow them from the library, trade with a friend, or even pull some favorites from your family's bookshelves!
  • Wrap each book and label 1-24. It's up to you whether you unwrap No. 1 on December 1st or start with book No. 24 and count backwards! Or don't even label them with numbers at all and let your kids choose one at random each night.

Our Christmas book countdown is a simple holiday tradition, but one my kids and I look forward to each year! Hope it's an idea that brings your family Christmas joy too. Happy holidays!

This previously published article come curtesy of:

Sarah Hauge is the publisher of Macaroni KID Englewood-Greenwood Village-Centennial, Colo.

Edited and updated, November 25, 2022

by Brenna Gutell publisher of Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas