Children's Book Advent Countdown with an Eco-friendly Twist

My take on the children's book advent calendar uses
reusable fabric bags instead of wrapping paper.

Last year I happened upon a lovely idea for an advent calendar: 24 children's books all wrapped in shiny red wrapping paper (numbered with a candle-shaped label).

Advent calendar by Babyccino Kids blog

I love the look of those different-sized overlapping rectangles in matching red paper all lined up on the mantle. And I love the idea of counting down to Christmas by opening a wrapped book each night and reading it together as a family! But guess what? I don't use wrapping paper.

But this year, I have 20+ fabric gift bags! I had to use a few pillow cases and other random items to make it to 24. And with those reusable gift bags I've wrapped up 24 children's holiday books.

Of course mine don't look quite as lovely as those wrapped in matching shiny red paper. But they achieve the same purpose. My books are also numbered -- I used index cards punched a few times with a hole punch and threaded them through the ribbon that ties the bag shut. 

I would love to have these wrapped books under the Christmas tree and let my kids hunt for the correct number each night, but I worry that they would not be able to resist opening all of them when I wasn't looking. So, for now, I have them in a basket in my room, where they can look longingly through them under my supervision, anxiously anticipating what wonderful tale might be hidden in each bag. 

You could also not number the books at all and just let your kids pick a package to open. But I'm a bit of a micro-manager and wanted certain books to be at the beginning and others towards the end. Once the book is unwrapped and read, it goes in the Christmas book basket in the family room to be read and enjoyed again and again during December.

Holiday book basket. 

The beauty of all this is that by the time it's time to wrap Christmas gifts almost all of the advent books will have been opened and their bags will be available for new gift wrapping.

I had to use a dish towel and pillow cases to make it to 24.

What's that you say? You don't own 24 children's holiday books? It's true. I own way too many children's books. But I did use to be an elementary school teacher and no one but me was buying books for the classroom library. We also receive many books as children's gifts (which I let everyone know I prefer over any number of other options) and frequent thrift stores with extensive used book collections. If you don't have 24 books, you can always use non-holiday books or check out holiday (or non-holiday) books from the library.  If you don't have enough gift bags, you can also use:
  • thin blankets, such as receiving blankets
  • leftover pieces of fabric (if you sew)
  • any plain fabric bag (such as those that sheet sets often come in)
  • pillowcases (doubled over several times and then wrapped with ribbon)
  • dish towels
  • small tote bags

Or do a shorter countdown, such as the last 10 days to Christmas (or other winter holiday). 

What is your favorite advent activity?

For more great ideas on being green and saving green during the holidays, 
visit my Green Holidays page (continually updated).

1 comment:

  1. Well I certainly like your eco version of the red wrapped books better.


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