Giving, Family, Books, & Tradition

A few years ago, my friend Elsie shared a holiday tradition that her family enjoys. Each year, they have a family book box for the holiday weekend. Instead of a book for each stocking or a book under the tree for each family member, they wrap all of the books into one box and open it as a family late in the day on Christmas or the day after. As an avid lover of books this tradition held great appeal to me! Of course, I thought, why does it have to be Christmas? This is the sort of tradition that could hold for any holiday where families might need a little down time after a busy day.

This year, we had a book box for the day after Thanksgiving. We included a few treasured box sets, Tim and I each went book shopping for each other with a budget, and then there were a few new surprises as well.

This set is obviously a little pricey, but they have quickly become the most loved books in our household. They are perfect for little hands, interesting for all three of my oldest, and simple enough for Aidan to read independently. There are complete volumes that are less expensive, but we like the fact that each short story is in its own individual book in this set.

One of the neat things is that we already had this DVD set. I was completely shocked at how well the books line up with the BBC DVDs. Now when I turn on one of the DVDs (which were already favorites) Kylee runs to go get the matching book. They are also great character building and conversation books. One of the books begins, "I have made many books about well-behaved people. Now, for a change, I am going to make a story about two disagreeable people..."

Since it was such a roaring success the first go around, I have no doubt that the book box will be making itself a permanent fixture in our family traditions.


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Lisa said...

Books are a staple in our house for holidays! But, I love that idea too because you're right-it provides for great downtime. And, it's not such a let-down during the big opening. They might actually get noticed that way. Maybe I will do that this year too. Save them for later. Thanks for sharing!

Kylie said...

I love seeing all of htese traditions with books. This idea for 'after' is great, thanks for sharing. :-)

Stephanie said...

There aren't too many things greater than a box full of new books!! :)

elsies7gifts said...

Now I feel bad, as I'm not sure if we are having a book box this year- I am so behind on my shopping. I have not done as much shopping for the last year, so I have not found the deals that I usually do. Plus the kids have so many books and I am unsure of which ones to buy. But, alas, I am sure I can get them to make me a list and I will be at B&N and Family Christian bookstore buying the week before
Christmas so I can keep this fun family activity going.
oh, for those who like this idea, I also do something similar with clothing and movies
It all came from a shortage of time one Christmas eve - wrap 7x3=21 more gifts, or put them in one box, wrap it and let them 'guess' whose 'clothes, books, movies' is whose. We spread the opening out like this usually -
-when the kids wake up they can open their stockings (but they usually wait for all to be up)
-then we eat breakfast (usually a fun cereal that Santa left) and cin rolls/fruit
-then we open Santa gifts
-get ready for church
-when we get home we either have a brunch first or open gifts to each other
-in the afternoon we do the book or movie box and the evening we do the other, or maybe the next day.
-the clothes box gets opened the night before (if it has jammies) or after Santa gifts (if it has church clothes) or sometimes later

I have found that spreading the gift opening out really makes the kids appreciate the gifts more, makes them realize who they are from (Santa vs mom/dad, sibling, g-ma)

Glad you found a new way to use my tradition Heidi - and I love th Peter Rabbit books!

The Sunshine Crew said...

Great idea to include book boxes as a tradition. We love books too.
Thanks for your nice card. We got it and have it hanging on our fridge.
Hope that you are having a blessed Advent and are getting geared up for a very Merry Christmas.

Heidi said...

Elsie see you need your own blog that you share these things on instead of me sharing them by osmosis :) I'm remembering now you told me that you did this with clothes as well, but I had completely forgotten!

elsies7gifts said...

little did you know that I do have a blog - and I just posted about you on it - have a great trip!