Advent is fast approaching, preceded by Thanksgiving of course, and (around here anyway) a new baby. Last week, I shared how Advent traditions have changed in our family. We really try to focus on Advent as a time of waiting and preparation. So, rather than watching all the (awesome) Christmas stuff on TV, we save shows and movies for our own Twelve Days of Christmas (beginning on Christmas Day) and instead read books aloud as a family during Advent. 

In case you’re looking to start some Advent traditions of your own this year, I wanted to share some of our favorites with you. These are all short chapter books, appropriate for the whole family. You could probably even get through all of them during Advent.

All links go to Amazon, where, if you make a purchase, I will get literally dozens of cents. Christmas, here we come!

A funny and heartwarming story of a family of bullies who decide to take part in the church Christmas pageant. My kids love getting to see the Christmas story through the eyes of kids who have never heard it before (and who think Herod could use a good beating — huzzah!). 

This is the story of a seven year old girl and her family, awaiting Christmas AND a new baby. It’s got more Christmas pageant angst, and plenty of charming Advent traditions. It’s classic, sweet, and old-fashioned.

By the author of the Pipi Longstocking books, this story chronicles a year with the children who live in a tiny rural Swedish village, including their Christmas. There’s actually a picture book (Christmas in Noisy Village) of just the Christmas part of the story, but for the same price you can get the whole year. So really, why not just read the whole thing? As in The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas, you get a beautiful glimpse into the families’ mindful preparation for Christmas, focused on charming old-fashionedy tidying and baking and bringing tree branches inside for decorations.

Not a Christmas book, but great for a chilly winter day. Or, for us, great for pretending it’s a chilly winter day. It’s got action and adventure and lots of ice skating!

Despite being quite familiar with the story of A Christmas Carol, (the cartoon Mickey Mouse version
is a big favorite around here) so far we haven’t read the original aloud. But with all the success we had last month listening to some spooky classics, I think we’re ready for the real thing. There are plenty of versions to choose from, but I like this one because it’s illustrated (which helps with comprehension and attention span in preschoolers) but unabridged. The language is complex, but not so much that even little kids can’t keep track of what’s going on, especially if they already know how it all goes down with Scrooge McDuck.

(We also have favorite seasonal picture books, I’ll post on those in a couple of weeks.)

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And now for the giveaway! . . . (The giveaway is over, thanks to everyone who entered!)

Years ago, I made a set of Jesse Tree ornaments, along with a book that contains all the readings AND a handy, dandy carrying case. But we really love our Christmas Novena and it’s just too much to do both, so we’ve never used them. I’d like to give them away to a family who can get some use out of them!

If you’d like to win it, just say so in the comments of this post. Next Thursday November 14 at 9pm Pacific time, I will randomly select the winning commenter. And we’ll ship it off to you, anywhere in the world. Good luck and have a blessed Advent!

Note: Your comment profile must be linked to an email address for you to win, so I can contact you to get your mailing address.

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If you have a moment to spare, please consider voting for Catholic All Year at The Homeschool Post’s annual homeschool blog awards! Voting is open through November 18th.

If you are so inclined you can click on the links to vote once per day, per device for Catholic All Year as the Best NEW Homeschool Blog 2013, and/or the Best Current Events, Opinion, and/or Politics Blog 2013.

Thanks so much to all of you who have voted already.

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Linking up with Hallie at Moxie Wife for Five Favorites and Jessica at Housewifespice for What We’re Reading Wednesday! Click on over to join in on the fun!