A Family Tradition: The Advent Book
A small tradition in our family has been to buy an Advent book for my girls at the beginning of December every year, for them to read in the countdown to Christmas. They have always been bookworms, and I felt that this would encourage that. All the books would be Christmas themed, and it is a tradition that we still do, even at the ages of 23 and 18! My eldest, Emma, has picked out a few of her favourites from over the years to tell you about…
I remember from when I was much younger, loving Lucy and Tom’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes. It’s about a brother and sister who are very excited for Christmas, having fun preparing for it with their family. They make their own Christmas cards, bake a Christmas cake, and can’t sleep knowing that Santa will be there in the morning! It’s a very sweet book with gorgeous illustrations, it’s one that I’ll always remember!
Another is similar, also by Shirley Hughes, called Alfie’s Christmas. I loved Shirley Hughes’ books and their illustrations as a child. The illustrations had a vintage feel to them, with very current stories. I remember feeling very cosy around her books! Its main message is about spending Christmas with family, and the ones you love. It’s very heart-warming, and makes the holiday less about presents and more about love.
A classic that most children will probably grow up hearing is The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. There are many versions, all with different illustrations, but the poem is the most important bit! It’s a classic poem, and always makes me feel more in the spirit of Christmas when I read or hear it!
A book that I have always remembered because of the fun tale and illustrations is The Christmas Bear by Ian Whybrow. The illustrations are recognisable as the same as The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, more stories from mine and my sisters’ childhoods! When Father Christmas sets off to deliver the presents on Christmas Eve, Bear is left behind, and the story is about his journey to make it to his owner’s house in time for morning. The book is full of flaps and levers, which meant I was able to really engage with the story, and found it really fun to read. This is very much an old favourite!
I have left my favourite until last. My favourite Advent book (and one of my all time favourite novels) is The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. You may know him as the author of Sophie’s World. It’s a story within a story, and there is a chapter for each day of Advent. A young boy finds an old advent calendar, and behind each window is a story that tells of a young girl who chases a toy lamb that has come to life in a department store. The story within the calendar follows the girl and her journey across Europe towards Bethlehem. As the story goes on, she is joined by different characters, making it a fun adventure! It’s a truly magical book that I still love, and is one of my most highly recommended books. It’s perfect for reading before bed as each chapter can be read each day. This made me slow down with it as I’ll usually go through books very quickly, but this made it last and I looked forward to reading a new chapter every night! It’s a really lovely, magical read.