My sweet little grandbaby is really into books right now. As a reading teacher, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!
Sometime back, a former colleague of mine shared how she bought her grandkids a basket full of books to read each night in December. I remember thinking what a great idea that was, but at the time, I wasn’t a grandmother yet.
But when our little Evelynn started showing so much interest in books recently, I knew this idea would make the perfect DIY Advent calendar for her.
There are all kinds of Advent calendar ideas; calendars with little doors that open to reveal small toys, Christmas cookies or candy, and various other mini gifts. But this DIY Kids Advent Calendar filled with books is one of the best Advent calendars ever. It’s designed to inspire the love of reading and build fun Christmas traditions.
A book is a gift you can open again and again. -Garrison Keillor
I am partnering with Dixie Belle Paint Company for this post. Paint and stain were generously provided to me by Dixie Belle, but all ideas and creations are my own. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
DIY Kids Advent Calendar
Find a Box or Crate
Because you’re going to fill your container with 24 books, you will want to find a sturdy wooden box or crate to support the weight.
I purchased this wooden storage box from The Container Store, but I’ve linked several other options at the bottom of this post. You might even find one at the thrift store if you have time to shop around!
Shop for Books
Thrift stores are a great place to shop for children’s books! I’ve been collecting books for the past year, and found all 24 books at various local thrift stores. I didn’t pay more than 99 cents for any of them! Some were even less!
Most thrift stores have a large selection of books, so I was able to select only books that looked brand new. Purchasing these books from a retail store would have cost me hundreds of dollars, so this was a wonderful way to make this project affordable, especially if you have multiple children to make Advent calendars for.
This DIY Advent calendar is a great option regardless of the age of the children in your life. I selected books for my 2-year-old granddaughter, but you can make it appropriate for older kids as well by choosing books for their reading level.
Decorate and Personalize
My crate came prefinished in a grayish/white color, so I was ready to jump right into the step of decorating and personalizing. If you’re not happy with the existing color of your crate, just give it a quick coat or two of a light paint color. Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint in the colors Fluff, Cotton, or Driftwood would work well.
I used Dixie Belle’s Holiday Joy stencil to help me decorate my own DIY Advent calendar. From my paint stash, I selected several seasonal colors to use on my fun project and got to work.
My Dixie Belle Artist Brushes worked nicely for filling in the small stencil openings.
The gorgeous ornaments and large tree were perfect for making the sides of the box look festive for the holiday season.
On one end, I added a simple quote about reading that I made with my Cricut, and on the other end, I personalized the box with XOXO, Gigi & Pops.
I added more trees and snowflakes from the Dixie Belle Christmas stencil to embellish the wording.
Last, I gave the whole box a spritz of Dixie Belle’s Easy Peasy Spray Wax and buffed to create a light sheen and protection.
In a single day, I was able to decorate the entire crate, and wrap all 24 books!
Gifting a new book to read for 24 nights during the month of December is a great way to inspire the love of reading in the kids in your family. Just set the box under the tree and allow them to choose one book beginning on December 1st and continuing through Christmas Eve.
This homemade advent calendar can also help very young children who may struggle with having to wait to open all of those tempting gifts under the tree until Christmas morning.
With this fun activity, they can look forward to selecting one book to open each night as a bedtime story. A small gift for each day of December will help them count down to Christmas Day.
Start a New Holiday Tradition
This is the first year that I’m gifting my grandbaby this book advent calendar, but I plan to continue this fun tradition each year. I will save the box, and refill it each year with age-appropriate books.
Next Christmas season, little Evie will have a baby brother. Since they will be just two years apart, for a while at least, I can fill the box with books that both of them will enjoy.
If you have kids with a wider age span, you could create multiple boxes so that each family member has their own advent calendar. But, a simple way to use just one Advent book box is to make it an activity for the whole family to enjoy.
Select books that are appropriate for each of the children in the family and wrap them in a different wrapping paper for each child.
The children can take turns each night selecting a book wrapped in their designated paper and the family can read it together. For example, if there are two children in the family, each child would have 12 books in the box, so still a total of 24 books. Doing it this way turns it into more of a family advent calendar.
The holiday season can sometimes be hectic and overwhelming. This DIY Kids Advent Calendar is a fun way to slow down and enjoy this time of year with your children.
Select a book to unwrap, and then enjoy reading it together with Christmas lights, and maybe some soft Christmas music playing in the background.
Some of my favorite memories with my children, and now my granddaughter, are these quiet moments spent reading together.
Acts of Kindness
After the holidays, you could keep all 24 books each year if you have room in your home for them, but one way to continue the holiday cheer and teach kids about acts of kindness is to donate the books. Perhaps the children choose a couple to keep, and the rest can be donated to organizations such as shelters, their pediatrician’s waiting room, or a favorite charity.
This DIY Kids Advent Calendar is so much fun for the kids, but also an opportunity for family togetherness and teaching your kids about holiday spirit.
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This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
- Chalk Mineral Paint in Barn Red, Rustic Red, Evergreen, English Ivy, Colonel Mustard, Cotton
- Holiday Joy Stencil
- Gilding Wax in Gold and Silver
- Artist Brushes
- Easy Peasy Spray Wax
- Buffing Pad