8 Clever Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with Books

8 Clever Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with Books

by Jennifer Ridgway

from Brightly

If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate books into your holiday celebrations, here are a few fun ideas. Some of these may require DIY work (although many can also be found on Etsy). Some will be great for your kids to help you make.

These ideas are but the tip of the snowflake; if you have other ideas for making your holiday more literary, please share in the comments below!

1.  Books As Gifts

books-as-giftsThis is probably the most straightforward idea. There is a book out there for pretty much everyone, even if they’re not readers. You can create a themed gift around a book: a cookbook with an oven mitt, cookie cutters, and cookie sheet; a photography book with a memory card and gift card to print photos; a picture book with a coordinating stuffed animal. Use your imagination! You could also do a book swap in place of Secret Santa or host a book swap party with your friends.

2.  Book Advent Calendar

book-advent-calendarsaw this idea online and started doing it for my twins. Choose 24 books, wrap them, and stack them. Have your child choose one every night in December leading up to Christmas. You can use all holiday/winter themed books or not. You don’t have to buy all new books; I mostly use books we already own. I try to put The Night Before Christmas at the bottom and save it for December 24.

3.  Eight Nights of Books

hanukkah-calendarYou can also adapt the above idea for Hanukkah, doing one book for each of the eight nights.

4.  Books As a Christmas Tree
bibliophile-christmas-tree
Grab a bunch of books and stack them up so that they look like a Christmas Tree! You can place a star on top or use a book propped up as a topper. This will save you money on a tree and the trimmings, as well as being environmentally friendly. Note: This idea is better for those with older children, or you may find your baby/toddler constantly pulling out books. For a smaller tree, you can open books and stack them with the widest at the bottom.

5.  OrnamentsOrnaments, Ornaments
book-ornament
There are a quite a few ways to decorate your tree with bookish flair. Here are a few ideas:

  • Cut the pages of an old book into strips. Grab some clear ball ornaments. Open the top, and curl some of the strips of type inside. Close up and hang on the tree.
  • Make your favorite characters or authors into ornaments. This is a great craft to do with your kids using paper or felt.
  • Print out mini covers and glue them onto cardboard or thick card stock. Your kids can also help with this.
  • You can also create garland with some of these ideas (made by stringing book covers/characters/authors together).

6.  Wrapping Presents
book-page-bowYou can add a bookish aesthetic under your tree with how your wrap your presents. Wrap in monogram colors that have a library/old book appeal (think burgundy, brown, and cream colored papers without shine). Then, print out a paragraph or quote from the wrapped book (or snap a photo) and tape it to the outside. Find wrapping paper with books, book titles, authors, etc. as the print (these can be found at bookstores and on Etsy). Etsy is also a great resource for book washi tape, which you could use in conjunction with single-color paper. There are tutorials online to make bows from book pages. Bonus points for using books such as A Christmas Carol for any of these!

7.  Bookmarks As Holiday Cards

bookmark-holiday-cardRather than sending out holiday cards, make bookmarks! You could still use a family photo, but also include a quote from a book.

8.  Adopt Iceland’s Tradition
iceland
In Iceland, most people receive a book as a gift on Christmas Eve. The whole family then tucks into bed to read their new book that night.

Build Your Own Library/Bookstore

Fat Brain Toys DIY Miniature Model Kit: “Harper’s Library”

Image result for fat brains miniature libraryIt’s labeled “library”, but it sure looks like a bookstore. Either way, it’s a room PACKED with books, and the lights even work! I’m pretty sure you could adjust it so it feels more like one or the other. From the various reviews I found (Amazon, Fat Brain Toys), it looks like a lot of the items are made from paper, and the wiring for the chandelier is fairly delicate. It also looks like it will take about 20 hours to complete – and that’s depending on your patience as well as your skill levels. So maybe not the best kit for a kid. Being made primarily with paper products, I don’t know how how long it will last, either. It definitely won’t make it more than a few days in my house with my 3 rambunctious cats! Still, it’s awfully cute and could be a neat project to work on, by yourself or with a friend.

If you do end up buying one, please let me know what you think of it, even if you don’t get around to finishing it. I’m curious what the materials and the directions are really like, and how it all works.

Just a reminder – I do not have any affiliation with any businesses here – I just thought this looked like a bit of fun.

Booking another photo shoot

As usual, I have no affiliation with any of these sites, authors, photographers, or anyone else. 

Check out Elizabeth Sagon, a “bookstagrammer” – She’s been creating photography by posing with her book collection in various scenes, often related to literature. A few of her works:

In Love With Books, This Woman Uses Them To Make True Works Of Art

In Love With Books, This Woman Uses Them To Make True Works Of Art

In Love With Books, This Woman Uses Them To Make True Works Of Art

Look familiar?  That might be because she is good friends with James Trevino, who I posted about a while back.

Sometimes they even get in on the act together!

In Love With Books, This Woman Uses Them To Make True Works Of Art

 

LFL Stewards Holiday Swap: Halloween

I’m part of the Library Steward Exchange group on Facebook. They do holiday swaps and the like. I sent mine off to my Exchange partner earlier this week. Yesterday I got my present. Woo!  A pack of four black cat ear headbands, a book bag from a local book fair, Halloween garland, a bag of Starbursts, a package of little bags with Peanut Butter M&Ms, a bookmark also from the local book fair, Halloween-themed pencils, Curious George’s Halloween, Katy Duck’s Happy Halloween, Folks This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin, a journal/notebook – and the lines you write on are actual text from Jane Eyre in teeny-tiny font, and Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook by Nancy Vienneau. So much awesome in here! The kid books are going in my Little Free Library straight away, and I’ll be reading the Salatin and Vienneau books before deciding whether to keep or share them. The husband has already claimed some of the candy. I will probably share the headbands and pencils with my kids at work. I’ll put the garland in my Little Free Library too.

Thank you so much, Sam!

Looking forward to the Winter Holiday swap!

IMG_8288.jpg

Quick Book Craft

A quick book craft for you

As I’ve mentioned before, I work with preschoolers for my job. My workplace has about zero budget for materials, so I buy, acquire, and make a lot of my own stuff. One of the things I made is a felt board. I do a lot of traveling within my part of town for my job, so my felt board needed to fit in my backpack and roller bag. It also needed to be big enough to hold the pieces I want to use – and be able to spread them out some.  I think this project cost me all of $1.20 or so, for the piece of felt, as the book was free and I already had the glue.

I ran across a larger hardback kids book whose pages were drawn on and ripped up. The cover was in great shape, though, making it perfect for my purpose. The felt came from somewhere like JoAnn’s Fabric and Craft Store.

I carefully sliced out all the pages with an X-acto knife. Then I cut my large piece of black felt to the dimensions of the inside of the open book covers, allowing just a touch extra to tuck into the spine.  I spread ModPodge Matte (I happened to have some in my craft stash – I suspect Elmer’s Glue would work just fine here) all over the inside of the book covers, open felt board.jpgand laid the felt carefully, working from end to end. I left the book covers open and let the whole thing dry overnight. When it was all dry, I went back to trim off any felt bits hanging over the edges of the book covers, closed felt board.jpgthen carefully closed the book covers – listening and feeling for any glue cracking off the spine. No cracks – the felt stuck to the inside of the book spine!

 

I have sets of felt pieces for some of the stories I do with my kids at work. One of the sets is for Go Away, Big Green Monster, by Ed Emberley.  I found a felt set on Etsy a while back, and a printable craft on KizClub. I read the story with the kids, then do the story again (more or less, as I remember it) with the felt pieces on the board, then we put the monster face together with the paper pieces and glue. We work on things like extending phrases (not just “eyes” but “two big yellow eyes”), articulation, identifying/labeling descriptors (colors, size, quality, felt board & book.jpgprepositions), requesting (asking for the paper pieces and glue), responding to questions (what’s missing?, who has the X, whose turn is next, what should we make go away next?), waiting your turn/listening for your name or the pieces you have (some of them are better about it than others) and so forth.

I also found a spooky candle at the dollar store. It’s a little tough to tell here, but it’s purple glitter spiders on a frosted plastic tube, with a battery-powered tea light. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve offered to read our story (how I begin every group) by “candlelight”, but only if everyone is okay with turning off the overhead light. We have a couple of big windows, so it’s never actually dark in our room. I check once or twice during the story to see if it’s gotten “too scary” yet. We also check out the candle before story time, so everyone can see the “flame” is just pretend, and it’s safe for kids. I WISH I’D FOUND THIS CANDLE YEARS AGO! The kids are sooo into it!

Go Away, Big Green Monster paper craft – color version: http://www.kizclub.com/storypatterns/monster(C).pdf
black and white version: http://www.kizclub.com/storypatterns/monster.pdf