Easy Book Advent Calendar with Free Printable Labels

Start a new holiday family tradition with a book advent calendar to countdown to Christmas. Use our free printable labels and Christmas book ideas to create your own book advent calendar!

I am SO excited to share one of our favorite Christmas traditions with you today – a book advent calendar.

Every day starting on December 1st, unwrap and read one Christmas book together as a family! The excitement will build as you countdown the days til Christmas.

Get into the Christmas spirit and keep the true meaning of Christmas in mind with a book advent calendar and use the free printable labels around your wrapped books.

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We think it’s so important to keep our heads on straight through the holiday season.  And not just ours, but our kids’ as well.  

The hustle and bustle of December often will leave you with little time to sleep or eat let alone reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

Being at an age where the little ones think Christmas is all about getting presents, it seemed especially important to remind them just why we celebrate this holiday.  

Why is giving more important than receiving?  Why kindness, joy, and forgiveness are more important than the number of presents you unwrap?

While I try to do a number of different activities with the kids (Jesse Tree ornaments are a favorite!!) to keep their focus on giving and the birth of Jesus, we so often find ourselves with very little extra time.

Why a book advent calendar is a great idea for busy families

The one time we can always rely on that comes every day is bedtime (THANKFULLY!!).  I love snuggling with my little ones and reading a bed-time story.  It’s the one time of the day I can count on them to be calm and still for more than 5 seconds (most of the time).

So, bedtime is the absolute perfect time to unwind, snuggle up and read a Christmas/Advent/Joyful story.

How to create your own book advent calendar

Do I even have to tell you how much little kids love to unwrap presents??  

That’s why we recommend wrapping up each book individually and labeling them with our free printable book advent calendar tags.

Your kiddos will eagerly unwrap each one every night of December as you countdown the days until Christmas.

But, it’s not about unwrapping, it’s about the sweet message each book brings that will hopefully sink in for these little boys as we lead up to the anticipation of Christmas.

Wrapping your books for the advent calendar

To wrap the books, we use regular kraft paper that you can buy anywhere and some simple red and white twine + book advent calendar printable labels (linked below).

Free printable labels for your wrapped books

You could also print these out on brown kraft paper and wrap the gifts with black paper or regular white paper.

Click the links below to download (will open in a new tab, and save to your computer):

Printable Labels 1 through 9

Printable Labels 10 through 18

Printable Labels 19 through 24

Here’s one finished, wrapped book!

28 advent calendar book countdown plus free printable labels!  Get into the Christmas spirit and keep the true meaning of Christmas in mind with a Christmas book countdown.

Where should you keep the books for your Christmas advent calendar?

The book advent calendar works a little better if the Christmas books are packed up for the rest of the year to keep them special. If they can read them all year long it’s certainly not going to be as exciting of an experience for them.

I like to keep them packaged up with the rest of our holiday decorations so that every year when I get out the Christmas decorations, I find the books and wrap them up again and label them.

The best Christmas books for young kids

Below I’ve listed all the books we are reading this year for our book advent calendar and a few extra recommendations for 28 Christmas books in total.

There are several religious ones (Happy Birthday, Jesus!), a few cute and goofy books (Bear Stays Up – seriously so cute), and some holiday staples (How the Grinch Stole Christmas!).

I don’t wrap/label in any particular order except that the Night Before Christmas is read … well… on the night before Christmas 🙂

They also aren’t listed in any particular order below, just how I pulled them out of the bin.

Keep in mind my kiddos are both under 6.  If your kids are 10 years old or 6 months, the same books may not apply.

As your kids get older, feel free to swap out some of the younger kids’ books for Christmas books geared toward older kids.

If you just do a few new Christmas books each year, your books will continue to grow with your kids and this tradition will feel new and special each holiday season.

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado comes a unique Christmas story, an inspirational children's book about being different, fitting in, and being happy with yourself. With more than 100,000 copies sold, this timeless bestseller has become a holiday read the entire family enjoys.
The Crippled Lamb
Happy Birthday Jesus by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great religious focused Christmas book for your advent calendar tradition. Birthdays are always a special time for children. And there is one special birthday we celebrate each year -- Jesus' birthday. This charming little book recognizes the birthday aspect of Christmas, a concept even very young children understand. Rhyming text and colorful illustrations depict a family decorating in honor of Jesus, singing "Happy Birthday" to Him, and even making a birthday cake! The story is a great way to introduce children to the holiday and involve them in celebrating the true meaning of Christmas: the amazing gift of Jesus Christ.
Happy Birthday, Jesus!
The Littlest Elf by Brandi Dougherty asks the question: is the littlest elf just too little to help out in Santa’s workshop? Find out in this sweet and lovable story from the bestselling Littlest series ― now a board book!
The Littlest Elf
The Night Before Christmas, the Classic Edition, by Clement Moore is an enchanting Christmas story that has brought Santa Claus to life for generations. Celebrate the holiday season with this #1 New York Times bestselling edition of the classic poem, that must be in your book advent calendar to be read on December 24th, Christmas eve.
The Night Before Christmas
The Berestain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan and Mike Berenstain joins Brother and Sister Bear at the Christmas Eve pageant as they witness the very first Christmas, and make an important discovery about giving and receiving, a valuable lesson at Christmas and year around. Young readers will learn the true meaning of Christmas in this addition to The Berenstain Bears Living Lights™ series.
The Joy of Giving
Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson celebrates the holidays with Bear and his friends in this sweet picture book. Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up—by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents of all!
Bear Stays Up
The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson shares the true meaning of Christmas with your children this holiday season. This simple but poetic text brings to life the story of Jesus' birth in a stable in Bethlehem.
The Christmas Story
God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren is perfect for book advent caelndars. As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder 
“Who invented Christmas?" Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas.
God Gave Us Christmas
Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight by Jerry Pallotta is filled with beautiful illustrations and lots of humor. Each page finds Santa and his helper mouse in some sort of predicement because of the animals he tries to use to guide his sleigh. Santa has to don a snorkel when he gives the dolphins a try! He gets roughed up by rhinos crashing through houses! And those naughty monkeys ... look out Santa! It's a fun book, great for ages 3 - 5. They will ask for it to be read, over and over again during the holiday season.
Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight?
The Mitten by Jan Brett is a great addition to your book advent calendar with Christmas books. In this bestselling modern classic, a young boy’s lost mitten leads to a charming snowy adventure. Jan Brett’s beautiful retelling is a family favorite and the board book edition is the perfect gift for the youngest readers.
The Mitten
The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert celebrates the season with this New York Times bestselling wintry tale that will have readers of all ages believing in the magic of Christmas. This is one to pull out every year and savor all winter long!
The Christmas Wish
The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall is a story of Christmas giving. Are you looking for an endearing Christmas story that doesn’t forget the true meaning of the holiday? The Legend of St. Nicholas tells the story of a man who spent his life secretly helping the poor all over the world, giving gifts on Christmas Eve to remind people of the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ.
The Legend of St. Nicholas
A Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman is  a rhyming, oversized die-cut board book featuring a star, young readers will playfully discover the story of the Christmas star and how it led the wise men to Jesus, and why stars can remind us of Jesus’s birth year-round.
The Star of Jesus
What is Christmas by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great introduction to Christmas for littles ones. This engaging introduction to the true meaning of Christmas, now in a new, convenient size. Michelle Medlock Adams' warm, humorous text lists all of the things that Christmas might be about, only to conclude that it is truly about celebrating the birth of Jesus, our Savior. Through the whimsical art and rhyming, fun-to-read verse, even the youngest child will come to understand what Christmas is. Ages 2-5.
What Is Christmas?
The Christmas Star: Book and Advent Calendar by Marcus Pfister follows the shining star as it guides shepherds, kings, and all the animals of the forest to the stable where the Holy child lies. Now available in a sturdy board book edition, this glittering Nativity, by the author of The Rainbow Fish, is a perfect Christmas gift for the entire family to share.
The Christmas Star
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston is an unforgettable tale, illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Barbara Cooney, has become a seasonal classic-a touching and joyful story about courage and the power of family.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss will grow your heart three sizes. Get in on all of the Grinch-mas cheer with this Christmas classic--the ultimate Dr. Seuss holiday book that no Christmas book advent calendar is complete without!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
The Christmas Baby by Marion Dane Bauer is a beautiful retelling of the Nativity story that celebrates the timeless joy of Christmas and of welcoming a new baby into the world is now available as a Classic Board Book, which makes it great for book advent calendars for little kids.
The Christmas Baby
A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree is a charming tale of an overgrown pine always being passed by for Christmas, and what his woodland friends do to help him, is sure to become a Christmas classic. With delightful illustrations by wildlife artist Michael Monroe and enchanting text from Colleen Monroe, the birds, deer and squirrel of this story help make their special friend's wish come true.
A Wish to be a Christmas Tree
Christmas in The Manger by Nola Buck is a classic Christmas story, a joy to share with young children. The gentle beauty of the story of the first Christmas is now available as a board book. With a simple, lyrical text and radiant artwork, this book is perfect for the youngest child to be a part of the wonder of the Nativity.
Christmas in the Manger
Little Blue Truck's Christmas by Alice Schertle allows you to celebrate Christmas with the #1 New York Times bestselling Little Blue Truck in a light-up novelty book that's the perfect gift for the holiday season.
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg sold in this beautiful hardcover edition is the perfect gift for all those—of any age—who believe, come Christmas Eve, that they too will hear the sweet sound of a reindeer’s silver bell. This edition includes a keepsake ornament.
The Polar Express
Jesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree by Crystal Bowman is a rhyming, oversized die-cut board book shaped like a Christmas tree. Young readers will playfully discover the meanings behind the ornaments and symbols we place on our Christmas trees each year, as well as the reasons we top the tree with a star and place presents underneath.
Jesus, Me and My Christmas Tree
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry is a great idea to add to your book advent calendar. Give the gift of holiday spirit with this classic picture book that celebrates how one Christmas tree brings joy to a whole forest of critters!
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers is a classic Christmas book. Join Marie, Fritz, and the intriguing Nutcracker himself on a magical Christmas Eve adventure.
The Nutcracker
Who Is Coming To Our House? by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff is a modern Christmas classic about how the animals prepare a cozy welcome for the baby Jesus, perfect for under the tree or in stockings.
Who Is Coming To Our House?
J is for Jesus: The Sweetest Story Ever Told by Crystal Bowman is a great religious Christmas book idea for young kids
J is for Jesus
Stick Man book for Christmas by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Stick Man

Alright, friends!  Since it’s officially the Christmas season you can expect TONS of Christmas DIYs coming your way.  

Hope you have a lovely start to the holidays 🙂

Wishing you a joyful day!


This post was originally published in November 2016 and was last updated in November 2022.

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  1. I think this is such a lovely Advent Calendar idea! Thanks for the printable, and the book ideas. We try to get the kids 1 Christmas book each year, so this is a great resource.

  2. I love this new tradition you started. Kids love books of all kinds and these stories look like so much fun. I spy a few that we have on hand but many of these, we don’t have. Winding down at nights with a good book is always a welcome idea for everyone.