Advent Book Calendar

Help your kids experience the anticipation of the Christmas season, and learn to love reading at the same time.

The idea is simple. Each day from December 1 to December 24, the kids have the fun and surprise of discovering which book you’ll be reading aloud as a family or at bedtime that day.

While the steps are simple, how elaborate you want to make it (and how much time you have) is up to you.

Advent Book Calendar Step-By-Step

1. Pick the books.

2. Hide or wrap them.

3. Let the kids discover them starting December 1.

Step 1: Pick the books.

You can select all Christmas themed books, or everyday favorites, or both. You can buy new books, use the ones you already have, or both. Most likely if you do this each year, you’ll adjust as the ages of your kids change.

The book list is up to you. The real joy is in the surprise of what book you’ll be reading that day.

Step 2. Hide or wrap the books.

There are many ideas for this step.

  • Wrap the books and put them in a basket or stack them like a tree. Each day, the kids pick a book from the bag or take one off the top of the stack to unwrap.
  • Wrap and number the books, and use a spinner or dice to select the books. You don’t have to number the books 1-24. If your spinner only goes to six, number them 1 – 6. The kids can pick any book with the matching number.
  • Use only 4-6 types of wrapping paper to wrap the books, and place an equal number of pieces of each type of wrapping paper in a container. The kids draw from the container and can pick any book that matches.
  • Keep the books hidden away and place the book for that day in a Christmas bag to give to the kids at reading time.
  • Hide a book (wrapped or unwrapped) each day so the kids have to find it. Provide clues if you’re feeling extra creative.

Step 3. Let the kids discover them starting December 1.

Game on!


  1. If you have multiple children, it can be helpful to plan in advance who gets to pick, draw, unwrap, etc.
  2. Always set aside the same book, such as Twas the Night Before Christmas, to read on Christmas Eve. This can become a beloved tradition over the years.