The Best Non Candy Advent Calendar Your Kids Will Cherish!

Christmas tree with ornaments in an article on the best non candy advent calendar

Homemade Advent Calendar Gift Ideas

Are you looking for a non candy advent calendar for Christmas?

One that will become a special tradition year after year that your whole family will cherish?!

That’s what I had been searching for, and I finally found THE one!

As I write this article, there are only 2 more days left until Christmas. The past 23 days of counting down have been so special because of this one particular countdown calendar.

Candy advent calendars are tons of fun, and so are the toy ones. But, I really wanted one that would be meaningful and memorable for the whole family (parents too), no matter how young or old the kids are.

I decided to take what I had heard about a Christmas Book Box and add a little twist to it.

If you are up for just a small amount of DIY, this untraditional advent calendar will become THE tradition 🙂

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

A Christmas Countdown Book Box

wrapped books, box, scissors, wrapping paper for a DIY non candy advent calendar

Fostering a love of reading is one of the most special gifts a parent can give a child.

For a child, a love for books equates to a love of learning, exploring, growing, and thriving. So many beautiful things!

For a parent, a child’s love of reading equates to more snuggles on the couch together and deeper conversations with our children.

A Christmas Countdown Book Box helps cultivate this, which is why my children, husband, and I all love it!

A traditional Christmas Book Box is a box that comes out during Christmas season and is full of awesome Christmas books to read and enjoy.

But a Christmas Countdown Book Box consists of 24 books that are each individually wrapped, marked with a number, and only some of the books are about Christmas.

How It Works

garland and lights in an article on the best non candy advent calendar

1. Find a box or basket.

Get a box or basket big enough to store 24 books.

Places like HomeGoods, Target, and the Container Store are great places to look.

I bought mine (pictured above) from Tuesday Morning.

2. Gather 12 Christmas/winter related books.

These 12 books will be stored away each year and brought out only for the Christmas season. So once you buy your 12, you won’t need to buy 12 more the next year.

Here are the ones I included in my 2 and 4 year olds’ Christmas Countdown Book Box if you’d like to copy!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss

Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn Buehner (New York Times Bestseller)

Grumpy Monkey Oh, No! Christmas by Suzanne Lang

Christmas Cookie Day, by Tara Knudson

The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats

The Magical Snow Garden, by Tracy Corderoy

The Smiley Snowman, by Christina Butler

Bedtime for Little Bears! by David Bedford

Pete the Cat Snow Daze, by James Dean

The Best Christmas Ever! by Marni McGee

One Christmas Wish, by M. Christina Butler

Merry Christmas, Little Pookie, by Sandra Boynton

What I like about these particular books is that they focus on togetherness, family, friends, and giving–all the things I hope my children will love about the Christmas season as they get older.

With them being so young, they mainly love the presents, of course. But I was intentional with the book themes.

3. Gather 12 more books that are NOT Christmas/winter related.

If you really wanted to have 24 books all about Christmas, you can!

I just like the idea of having a few new books in the batch each year since the other ones will be repeated for awhile.

I also like the idea of letting my kids unwrap books that they can enjoy all year long too, not just during the holiday season.

My husband and I are both avid readers. We love books, so to have a holiday tradition that gives us an opportunity to update our kids’ bookshelves, we really like!

Our kids most loved books from this year’s Christmas Countdown Book Box are:

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak (Winner of the Caldecott Medal in 1964)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett (the book behind the major motion picture!)

Field Trip to the Moon, by John Hare (amazing illustrations with no words!)

Nobody Hugs a Cactus, by Carter Goodrich (We love desert books, and this one is super cute!)

4. Wrap each book and number them.

Individually wrap each book and write numbers 1-24 on them. Place 24 in the front and the rest behind.

On December 1st, place the box out under your Christmas tree. Have your children alternate whose day it is to open a book. This is the part I LOVE.

Seeing my kids excitement every single morning for an entire month to run to the tree to unwrap a book and then cuddle up on the couch to read it is the BEST way to start the day.

Curb the Cost of a Christmas Countdown Book Box

garland and Christmas decorations

Buying 24 books can become expensive fast! Shopping for your books throughout the year can help disperse the cost.

I started looking for mine in July and plan to do the same again this year. Bargain shopping is my thing! So I go to places like Half Price Books where you can get books for literally half the price.

A Non Candy Advent Calendar: Final Thoughts

The Christmas Countdown Book Box is seriously the best non candy advent calendar because the experience of unwrapping each day’s book is just as exciting and special for the parents as it is for the kids.

The act of reading the books together every single morning creates such fond memories for a whole entire month.

I cannot wait to continue on this tradition, and I hope you and your family will enjoy it just as much as mine does!

Do you have a favorite Christmas book? I’d love to hear! Share in the comments section below.

Read Next:

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35 Best Baby Books for Boys — You’ll Love #22!

35 Best Baby Books for Girls — You’ll Love #18!

Visual Adventures: Top Black and White Baby Books


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