This year I'm so excited to begin this new tradition, and I hope Riggs will enjoy it as much as I think he will! I've been collecting books to use for this project and have quite a nice pile going already. I try to get books out and put them away according to the season, for example if the book is about winter, we keep it in a box until it's actually winter. There are many books that don't really fit into the seasonal criteria, and we keep those out year round (Goodnight Moon, Nobunny's Perfect, etc).
I think a Christmas Book Countdown is a perfect way to introduce new Christmas books every year, and to increase excitement for them and for the time of year. Also I would have loved opening a present every day, even if it was a book I had already read last year. Some of the books I've collected (and still have from when I was little) are too wordy for Riggs' attention span, so they'll have to wait for later years. I've included 24 books in this list that we'll be reading this year, books that are perfect for toddlers from about 1.5 to 3.
1. My First Christmas by Tommie Depaola - This book is a great introduction into the Christmas season with simple illustrations and words that are easy for a little one to understand and follow.
2. The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree by Stan Berenstain - I love the Berenstein bear books so much, and this one is a classic. I loved it when I was a kid and I know Riggs will love it too.
3. A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Collen Monroe - This is a beautifully illustrated and written story about a tree that hopes to get picked every year. We decorate our tree right after Thanksgiving so I wanted to include a few books about the Christmas tree early on in the month.
4. Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck - This is a great introduction to the real meaning behind Christmas for toddlers.
5. The Littlest Elf by Brandi Dougherty - I saw this book for the first time this year and added it to our collection. The story and illustrations are very cute and I think little kids like to hear about other kids(/elves lol) being too little to do certain things just like them.
6. The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry - This was probably my sisters and I's very favorite Christmas book when we were growing up. I have so many memories of reading it and I'm pretty sure we wore out the scratch and sniff patches with in a year or two.
7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess - Everybody loves this book and I want to read it to Riggs a few times before watching the old version of the movie with him.
8. A Christmas Goodnight by Nola Buck - This is a sweet story in which the character says goodnight to each of the pieces of the Nativity. It's nice to have a bedtime themed book to include in our normal bedtime routine.
9. Merry Christmas, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer - Riggs LOVES the Little Critter books so this was a must. I actually got a copy at Target that included stickers too.
10. Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren - This is a beautifully illustrated story by the same author who wrote the Tomten books, which we already love.
11. Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell - Another Nativity story that's sweet and simple.
12. The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett - Jan Brett was (and still is) my favorite author of Children's books and her Christmas books are all so good.
13. Christmas in the Country by Cynthia Rylant - This book includes many old fashioned Christmas traditions that are fun to read about, and it's by the same author of another book we already love, When I was Young in the Mountains.
14. Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I love all books by Wilder and this is just another that I hope Riggs will love too.
15. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff - I actually read If You Give a Moose a Muffin first, when I was little, but I've grown too love this book too. It's a playful story and I think Riggs will like it, although I don't think he'll fully understand what 'going to the movies' means yet, since he's never been.
16. Duck and Goose It's Time for Christmas by Tad Hills - Duck and Goose are Riggs' favorite, so I've been planning on getting this book nearly all year. I'm sure he's going to love it!
17. Merry Christmas, Curious George by H.A. Ray - Everybody loves Curious George (especially Riggs) so I thought this was a great one to include on the list. I think it would work for all ages too, it's such a classic!
18. Little Critter's The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore/Mercer Mayer - I bought pretty much every Little Critter Christmas book I found, since Riggs loves them so much. The illustrations are so cute and full of personality and detail. Riggs loves to look for mouse and 'itsy-bitsy' in all the books.
19. Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki - I love this book! Santa goes for a walk in the woods to get in shape for Christmas deliveries, but ends up falling asleep. When he wakes up, he tells the animals a story about the true meaning of Christmas.
20. Santa Claus is Coming to Town by J. Fred Koots (Steven Kellogg) - This is a classic and a must for every Christmas book collection!
21. The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer - This book isn't really about Christmas, but I wanted to include all sorts of books and this one was perfect to read on Winter Solstice. It's a little old for Riggs but he usually likes books about the seasons.
22. The Christmas Owl by Angela Muse - A sweet book about an injured Barred owl. Any child who loves owls will love this book!
23. The Night Tree by Eve Bunting - This book is so beautiful, I just love it! I think we might go decorate a tree in the yard for the animals after reading the book this year.
24. The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore/Jan Brett - I love this version of the classic Christmas Poem and figured Riggs would enjoy hearing it more than once.
So there you have it, our Christmas Countdown picks for 2013. Please share any of your favorite Christmas books for kids that I haven't included in the list!