Christmas Book & Candy Countdown
Total Time To Complete:
Suitable for ages 3 - 12
Our family loves advent calendars. We probably have 3 or 4 different ones we've made or been given over the years, but our Christmas Book Countdown has become one of our favorite traditions of the Christmas season. This year we've taken it one step further and made it a Christmas Book & Candy Countdown.
I love this tradition because I can get it ready in November before things get crazy. Having a different book to read together each day makes us take the time to pause and sit down and enjoy each other, no matter what else is going on in our schedule. The kids love getting to have a sweet treat to nibble during this special time and they also loved helping me get it ready.
Assorted Wonka® and Nestlé® seasonal candy
Healthy snacks such as clementine oranges, nuts and seeds
25 Christmas books
Assorted Wrapping Paper
25 small cellophane bags
Self-Adhesive Gift Tags or Christmas Countdown tags printed onto round labels
Optional Supplies: Single-hole punch, assorted ribbon and bows
First you'll need to gather 25 Christmas books. I keep an eye out for them at thrift stores and garage sales. I also pick them up used online, during the off-season, although you can find some great deals on Christmas books now too. If you don’t have enough Christmas books for a whole 25, you can also use library books…just be sure that those are ones you open early in the month so you don't miss due dates. You could also re-wrap some of your favorites to enjoy a second time later in the month.
Once you've got your books, it's time to wrap them. This year I splurged and bought fun wrapping paper. In the past I've used plain butcher paper or newspaper and the kids love it just as much. If you're one of those people who feel like wrapping gifts is a drudgery, then you could easily slip them all into gift bags…with the added bonus that most of those bags will be empty and available again in time to use them to wrap gifts in them later in the Christmas season.
My kids were all anxious to help with the wrapping. It turned out to be a great opportunity to teach them some basics of gift wrapping.
I wanted to keep things super simple. I wanted something I could just peal and stick with a clean, classic look, so I've created these Countdown labels* that you can print off. Click here to print days 1 - 17 and click here to print days 18-25. They have been designed to work with Avery Print-to-the-Edge Round Labels #22830 or the equivalent. If you don't want to purchase labels, you could use regular peal-and-stick gift tags and just write numbers onto them, or you can print these on cardstock and use tape to attach them.
Now to make the goodie bags, I put treats in sets of 4 into small cellophane bags. I used sets of four because we have four kids in our family. You'll want to do the appropriate number for your family. I used an assortment of different candies and treats for different days.
For the larger candies, like the Wonka® Spree® Mini Candy Canes, I just folded the top toward the front and put the numbered sticker on.
For the smaller candies, like the Nestlé® Butterfinger® or Crunch® Miniatures that didn't fill most of the bag, we trimmed the bag to about 3 inches above the top of the candy, folded it over toward the front, and stuck on the number sticker.
I started out having fun embellishing them with ribbon and bows…warm ups for the "real" gift wrapping to come, I suppose.
For most of the books with ribbon, I used a single-hole punch to get two holes to thread the ribbon though.
Although I admit that as time went on, I resorted to the tape-and-go method…but with the candy and the classic number on them, I think they still look inviting…so you can go as blinged out or as simple as you want. I can say the candies the kids are most excited about are the Wonka® Fun Dip Books.
They're also excited about all the varieties of Wonka® candy canes. (They don't like the spicy peppermint ones, so these fruity varieties are perfect for them.)
There are also a few special days (like Day #1 and Christmas) where we snuck in some Nestlé® Butterfinger® and Crunch® Medallions. Those are definitely a favorite for the kids with the fun Santa stamped into them.
And since that can end up being a lot of candy for the kids (especially with all the other sweets that seem to come with the Christmas season), you can also throw in some healthy snacks.
I chose some pumpkin seeds, mini-oranges (although you'll want to bag them up just a day or two before you plan to eat them), or nuts.
And I have to say, it makes me smile to see presents under the tree so early.
And it's fun to see our kids falling in love with some of our favorite Christmas books.
* (Images on the labels used by permission from Coley of Digidoodle Doo Scrapbooking http://www.digidoodledoo.com/ .)
The Christmas Book and Candy Countdown was created by blogger, Polly Carlson. To learn more about Polly, visit her blog at Pieces by Polly