12 Days of Christmas Books and Activities {Guest Post}

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com}

Hello One Creative Mommy readers!  I’m Kelly from Dixie Dollar Deals, and I’m so happy to share with you 12 days of Christmas books and activities!

I bet many of you love to add books to your Christmas collection every year just like I do.  Last year I came up with a list of my very favorite Christmas books and activities to do with them.  By adding an activity with the book, you will help create memories for your family for years to come.

My eight year old daughter asked me in October if we would be doing the activities again this year – they were a big hit! You can do them one a day for the 12 days of Christmas, or just throughout the month of December as you have time.

Let’s begin!

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree

Day One – Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 13th.}

I first heard about this book a few years ago from a friend.  I’ve added it to our family’s collection and each year I admit that it’s one that I look forward to reading the very most.  The illustrations are adorable and the story is so unique.

The activity to coordinate with Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree are fun cupcake liner trees!  They are super easy to make, and you probably already have some cupcake liners laying around!  I recommend making them in advance of reading the story, and then re-enacting the story as your read!

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} The Gingerbread Man

Day Two – The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 14th.}

I added this book to our family’s Christmas book collection last year.  There are many gingerbread man books out there, but I love the old school illustrations from this version.  A close runner-up would be Gingerbread Baby or Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett with equally delightful illustrations.

The activity to coordinate with The Gingerbread Man is gingerbread playdough.  You could make real gingerbread cookies too, but playdough is a nice alternative for little helpers and most of the ingredients you should already have on hand.

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} The Polar Express

Day Three – The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 15th.}

I know many of you have The Polar Express already in your homes, so you won’t be surprised to see it on my list.  I selected this book among my favorites because of the message of the story.  My oldest daughter is 7 and has been asking a lot of questions about what is “real” with aspects of Christmas.  I think this year the message of The Polar Express of believing in the spirit of Christmas will be more important than ever, and one that I want to stress to her.   This book is a Christmas classic, and one that children and adults both enjoy.  I hope it’s one of your families favorite Christmas stories to read.

The activity to coordinate with The Polar Express is The Mini-Van Express tickets!

The idea of The Mini-Van Express {or whatever vehicle you have} is to load up the kiddos for a fun night of sightseeing Christmas lights around town!  You just print out the tickets and leave them in a special spot for your kids to find one night after doing the bedtime routine.  Just hop in the mini-van with some snacks and enjoy some family time touring your town!  This was a BIG HIT with my kids when we did this activity last year!

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} The Elf on the Shelf

Day Four –The Elf on the Shelf by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell

{Our Elf Charlie arrives on December 1st, so we will read the book that night.  Read the story in your home either the day of arrival or the day before in anticipation of his or her arrival!}

I first saw The Elf on the Shelf 2 years ago in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog.  A few weeks later, our family was on a vacation in Durango, Colorado and I saw The Elf on the Shelf in a gift shop.  I knew right away that although the book and the elf cost $30 that our family NEEDED one, so I purchased it then.  This will be our third year of having our own personal elf who reports to Santa during the Christmas season.    Now there are lots of new Elf on the Shelf products and accessories available {even girl elves!}.   If you haven’t yet bit the bullet to buy one, I would highly recommend adding an elf to your family.

The activity to coordinate with The Elf on the Shelf are these Elfy ideas.

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} The Candy CaneDay Five – The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 17th.}

I added this book to our family’s collection of Christmas books when my older daughter was born 7 years ago.  Each year when we read it, I feel good that I’m teaching my kids about the real meaning of Christmas and where the Christmas symbols come from.  It’s a story that will keep the kids interested, but also teach them at the same time.

The activity to coordinate with The Legend of the Candy Cane are chocolate dipped candy canes!  I wanted an activity to do with my kids that would be simple and help focus them on the shape of the candy cane and the message of the book.  You can just melt some chocolate chips and let the kids dip the candy canes themselves.   Plan on making the candy canes first, then let your kids dip them in hot chocolate while reading the story together.

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} The Spirit of Christmas

Day Six – The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 18th.}

I bought this book when I was pregnant with my second child 3 years ago.  I stumbled upon it at Kohl’s – in the front by the check stands – and picked it up for somewhere around $5.  Definitely worth every penny!  In full disclosure I will tell you that I can not read this book to my kids without absolutely tearing up EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  In fact, once my husband was in another room from where I was reading it to my kids and he could hear me crying!  {I wish I could blame it on pregnancy hormones, but I can’t.  This story is just too sweet!}

Of all the Christmas books I own, I would say that this story is probably my very favorite.  The illustrations are incredible and have an amazing look all their own.  Many of the pictures have little hidden shapes in the illustrations that my children like to discover.  The message of this story is that Christmas all began with a child, and the best part of Christmas is having a child underneath the Christmas tree.   If I could recommend any Christmas book to add to your collection, it would be this book.

The activity to coordinate with The Spirit of Christmas are Reindeer footprints!   I picked this activity because I thought they were adorable, and would help capture the stage that each of my kids are in during this Christmas season.   I think they would look awesome in some frames or on canvas to decorate your home each Christmas season.

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} Frosty the SnowmanDay Seven – Frosty the Snowman by Annie North Bedford

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 19th.}

I LOVE winter!   Although I live in the warmth of Utah’s desert, my heart really belongs in the wintery mountains of Utah.  I love all things related to snow – skiing, a cozy mountain cabin, and snowmen!   We have this retro version of Frosty the Snowman as pictured above, but I think there are several versions of this book out there.  I love the 1950′s era style illustrations and text.   My 2 year old is big enough this year to know the Frosty song, so I think she’ll enjoy reading this book.  We also have the animated Frosty movie that is on tv every year.

The activity to coordinate with Frosty the Snowman is homemade snow globes!   There are tons of websites out there with instructions on how to make your own snow globes, but I love these the best because they added photos of their kids to them, which makes them so much more fun, in my opinion.  They look super easy to make and I know my kids would find it hilarious to see themselves in their own snow globe.  You can even add some of the white trees from the dollar store to it.  If you don’t get around to making this before Christmas, it would be a fun activity to do during the school break.

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} Nutcracker

Day Eight – The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann and illustrated by Patricia Seminara

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 20th.}

To me, no Christmas is complete without incorporating The Nutcracker in some way into the season.  I was lucky enough to be a dancer in the Ballet West Nutcracker when I was 11, and I have loved all things relating to the ballet Nutcracker ever since.   I love that my kids recognize the music and love it almost as much as I do too.

I don’t remember how I originally got this book version of The Nutcracker, but I’m sure I got it when I was a child myself.  It’s a version that is mostly text and few illustrations, and it’s very lengthy.  I’m sure when my kids are older it will be a fun treasure to read with them.  We also have a pop-up book that is more interesting for kids at their age.  There are so many wonderful book versions of The Nutcracker available now.  I hope you have one in your collection too!

The activities to coordinate with The Nutracker are these paper Nutcrackers OR take your kids to see The Nutcracker ballet in your area!

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} The Gift of the Magi

Day Nine –The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 21st.}

My mom gave me this edition of The Gift of the Magi when I was a teenager.  I admit that this is one of my favorite Christmas book simply because I love the story and the illustrations.  I have read it to my kids, but it’s really not one that holds their interests.  However, if you have teenagers they would probably enjoy it.  The message is wonderful – that the wise men taught how to give, and those who give like the magi are wisest of all.  The illustrations from this book are so beautiful.  It is pure eye candy.

I think the best activity to coordinate with The Gift of the Magi is to pick a service project to complete as a family.   You can shop and donate toys for needy children, deliver gifts to neighbors, make freezer meals for an elderly relative or neighbor, or serve dinner in a shelter.  It’s not really important what you choose to do, but teaching your family how to give to others is.

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} The Tale of Three Trees

Day Ten – The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 22nd.}

I think most of you are probably familiar with this story.  The book has been around awhile, and I’m sure many of you have it in your collection.  I love this story because it focuses on the life and mission of Jesus Christ.  The story is simple enough for little ones to understand but will also touch you with it’s message.  It’s appropriate for Easter or Christmas time.

The activity to coordinate with The Tale of Three Trees are homemade Christmas trees.  I love the easy step by step instructions and how affordable they are to make!  You probably have some items laying around your house right now that would work for these!  As you’re crafting you can discuss with your children the message behind The Tale of Three Trees and how the trees in the story, just like people, are each unique and have their own special mission.

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} Christmas Cookies

Day Eleven – Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 23rd.}

I first discovered this book at a book fair at my child’s school a couple of years ago.  I loved the old-school illustrations and that the book teaches the meaning of these words: anticipation, tradition, disappointed, celebrate, appreciative, prosperity, charitable, responsible, moderation, reciprocate, frustrated, perseverance, selfish, thoughtful, lonely, sharing, gratitude, family gracious, believe, joy, peace, and hope. It’s a fun book for little cookie lovers!

The activity to coordinate with Christmas Cookies is to make your own favorite cookie recipe!  I plan on saving myself some stress this year by making Santa’s cookies on the 23′rd, so that we can enjoy our family activities on the 24th.  It will be fun to read this book and then exclaim that it’s time to make Santa’s cookies!

12 Christmas Books and Activities to Share with Your Kids {Guest post by Dixie Dollar Deals on OneCreativeMommy.com} The Night Before Christmas

Day Twelve – The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore

{For the 12 days of Christmas, read this book on December 24th.}

Our family has at least 3 or 4 different books of this story.  This year we received the Jan Brett version as a gift.  I want to add more of her stories to our Christmas collection because I love her illustrations.

The activity to coordinate with The Night Before Christmas is to write a letter to Santa!

I hope you have discovered some new Christmas books to add to your family’s collection, and a few fun activities to complete as a family too!

Thanks Heidi for letting me drop by!

You can find my blog over at Dixie Dollar Deals, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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Thanks so much to Kelly for sharing these great ideas.  I’ve found a few Christmas books and activities that my kiddos are going to love!  I hope you did, too.
I’m so glad you stopped by! If you like what you see, please like, pin, tweet, +1, or share in some way!

Click here to see all the fantastic sites I like to link up with each week.

Comments

  1. Thanks for putting together such a great list with activities to match the books. It’s such a great idea, I’ve pinned it so I can remember to read and do these too. Thanks for sharing.
    Christa recently posted…Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop co-host for Ducks ‘n a Row (week 3)My Profile

  2. What a beautiful collection of books! I really appreciate the time and thought that went into this post. I have pinned it to my “reading” Pinterest board so others can get it, too!
    Bonnie a.k.a. LadyBlogger recently posted…Is Bullying Abuse?My Profile

  3. I love a good Christmas book, we always used to read The night before Christmas on the 24th. Have you ever seen “This is the Star” by Joyce Dunbar. Its in rhyme (my favourite for reading to small children) and the illustrations are AMAZING. Perfect to read the day you put up a nativity scene, or to encourage some Christmasssy paintings.
    Julie recently posted…Day of the Doctor TributeMy Profile

  4. This is a great collection of books! My kids love to read these types of books around the holidays! Thanks for linking to Less Laundry, More Linking party!
    Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet recently posted…Less Laundry, More Linking #17My Profile

  5. Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I am definitely going to use these ideas as we read to our grandchildren in December.

  6. I adore these ideas- I have a 19 month old son and he is just starting to really get into certain activities. Tonight on the way to the train we saw a few Christmas lights- he loved it! Pinned this to my Christmas board to save and share with my followers! Thanks for sharing at the Foodies and Crafties Soiree!
    Sarah recently posted…Thanksgiving Game Plan: How to Feed a Crowd and Still Have Time to EatMy Profile

  7. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday’s Adorned Link Party. Have a great Thanksgiving.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above
    http://www.adornedfromabove.com
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above recently posted…Giving Thanks 2 –My Profile

  8. One of my favorite Christmas books to read to my kids at home and my Special Ed class is The Crippled Lamb. It has a wonderful story about the true meaning of Christmas and how God made us all unique and special for a reason.

  9. SO many great books shared here and activities! Pinning this to add some of these books to our Christmas season; thanks! :)
    Mackenzie @ Cheerios and Lattes recently posted…Saturday Show & Tell #92My Profile

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