Christmas Activities for Families: Read and Make

Updated on December 15, 2017
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One of our family's treasured Christmas traditions is counting down to Christmas by reading a children's book each night beginning on December 1st and continuing until December 24th. On Christmas Eve we end the tradition with reading The Night Before Christmas children's book in our special cozy Christmas pajamas!

Starting your own family tradition of counting down to Christmas with books is easy, here's how:

  • Buy 24 different holiday books for kids. Some of our favorite are listed below. You can find these timeless traditional holiday books easily online on Amazon anytime of year, or at your local bookstore or big box store around the holidays.
  • Place a small sticker in the upper right corner of each book. With a marker write a number on each book, starting with number 1 and ending with number 24. Be sure to mark your copy of "The Night Before Christmas" book with the number 24, it's the last one you'll read on Christmas Eve.
  • Place all the holiday children's books in a large wicker basket or bin near the tree in number order from 1 to 24.
  • Beginning on December 1st read one book together each night. You could take turns and switch readers each night or you could read aloud to your children every night. On December 1st you'll read the book marked number 1 and continue each night until you get to 24, The Night Before Christmas book!

Reading these holiday children's books together is a great family tradition, and it's never to late to begin this tradition. Some of these stories are holiday stories that kids only get to know because of the movie or TV show. Reading the children's book version is a great way to spend family time each night as you countdown to Christmas and encourage reading.

Create even more special memories with our ideas below. You'll find a brief summary of each book along with a fun family activity. You and your children are sure to enjoy these fun Christmas projects that have been selected especially to go along with each story.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

This Dr. Seuss children's book features the Grinch, Max, Cindy-Lou, and all the residents of Who-ville, in this heartwarming children's story about the effects of the Christmas spirit on even the smallest and coldest of hearts.

Head to the kitchen after reading the book to make healthy Grinch snacks using kiwis, strawberries, grapes, bananas and marshmallows. These snacks are fun to make and delicious to eat. All you'll need is fruit, marshmallows and toothpicks. You can use a food save marker to draw the faces on the grapes and kiwis.

Frosty the Snowman

This holiday story features everyone's favorite snowman with a magic hat who comes to life on Christmas every year.

After you've finished reading the book, you can make your own snowman with this DIY Snow Recipe. Be sure to sing the Frosty the Snowman song while you're making your snowman-the lyrics are below. The ingredients you'll need to make your snowman are:

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons clear liquid soap
  • 8-10 tablespoons of water
  • Accessories: ribbon, craft eyes, buttons, beads, sticks. Foam sheets are perfect in black and orange for cutting out a carrot nose, hat, eyes, mouth and buttons.

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl.. If your dough will forms a ball, you're all set. If it's too dry and crumbly add water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have a dough that molds into a snowball. You're ready to create. Add eyes, nose, hat, scarf, buttons, be creative.

Below is a closeup of our Frosty we made with DIY snow. He stands 4 1/2 inches tall. We used construction paper to make his hat, buttons, mouth and nose. We used twigs for his arms. For his scarf we used a piece of red felt. Isn't he cute?

Be sure to sing the Frosty the snowman song as you're making your snowmen, here are the lyrics:

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal
Frosty the snowman is a fairytale they say
He was made of snow but the children
Know how he came to life one day
There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around

Frosty the snowman
Was alive as he could be
And the children say he could laugh
And play just the same as you and me

Frosty the snowman
Knew the sun was hot that day
So he said
Let's run and We'll have some fun
Now before I melt away
Down to the village
With a broomstick in his hand
Running here and there all
Around the square saying
Catch me if you can

He led them down the streets of town
Right to the traffic cop
And he only paused a moment when
He heard him holler "stop!"
Thumpity-thump-thump
Thumpity-thump-thump
Look at Frosty go
Thumpity-thump-thump
Thumpity-thump-thump
Over the hills of snow

Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal

Frosty the snow man
Had to hurry on his way
But he waved goodbye saying
Don't you cry
I'll be back on Christmas Day!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

This beloved children's book stars Rudolph, a young reindeer with a nose that glows. One day the other young reindeer make fun of him and Rudolph runs away. With the help of a misfit elf named Herbie and a prospector named Yukon Cornelius, Rudolph learns that you shouldn't run away from your problems. Everyone is thrilled when Rudolph returns to the North Pole, especially Santa, who desperately needs his help to deliver the presents on Christmas Eve!

After you've finished reading the book, make this keepsake. The supplies you'll need are:

  • Brown construction paper
  • Blue - or any other color construction paper for background
  • Googly eyes or construction paper eyes
  • Red pom pom nose or red construction paper nose
  • Glue
  • Kid friendly scissors

Trace your child's hands and feet on brown construction paper. Help them cut out the hands and feet using the kids scissors. Glue the cutout pieces to a blue sheet of construction paper. Add your own eyes and nose with paper or use plastic eyes and a red pom pom. There you have it, your very own Rudolph keepsake of your child's hands and foot print!

Don't forget to sing the Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer song while you're crafting, here are the lyrics:

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose

And if you ever saw it you would even say it glows

All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names

They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games

Then one foggy Christmas eve

Santa came to say:

"Rudolph with your nose so bright

Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then all the reindeer loved him

As they shouted out with glee

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

You'll go down in history

Dream Snow

In Dream Snow by Eric Carle it's December 24th, and the old farmer settles down for a winter's nap, wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow. In his dream that he imagines a snowstorm coming and covering him and his animals—named One, Two, Three, Four and Five—in a snowy blanket. Dream Snow is as cute as Carle's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a children's favorite. It's a simple story with lively illustrations and a fun gimmick for little hands.

After reading Dream Snow get out the paper and scissors, we're creating paper snowflakes. These unique treasures are fun for the whole family to make. You can use white copy paper or coffee filters or even cupcake liners to make your paper snowflakes. Be sure to have a pair of scissors for each person. After making your snowflakes just add a wire hook and use them to decorate your tree. You can also string a bunch of snowflakes on a piece of yard and make a snowflake banner. This is an easy craft with impressive results!


How to Make Paper Snowflakes

  • Take a square piece of paper (cut 2 1/2 inches off the bottom of a piece of copy paper to form a square).
  • Fold the top left of your square paper down to the bottom right to form a large triangle.
  • Fold the top right corner down to the bottom left corner.
  • The longest side of your paper should be at the bottom. Take the left point and bring it to the middle, it should wind up straight down from the top point.
  • Flip the paper over.
  • Take the left corner and fold it across to the right so that the left edge lines up with the paper already there.
  • Cut the across the bottom of the paper so it is straight (you'll be cutting off the two points)
  • Cut random shapes out along the edges.
  • Carefully unfold and you'll have a beautiful snowflake.

How to Make Paper Snowflakes
How to Make Paper Snowflakes

A Place to Store Your Christmas Countdown Books

A large basket is a great keeper for your Countdown to Christmas children's books. Place a decorative basket filled with the books near your Christmas tree for easy reading each night.

Another great book keeper is a wooden bin which you can buy at your local craft store. A bonus is that you can store the books in the bin when you pack away your Christmas decorations. For added family fun paint and decorate your wooden book bin together.

Reading Aloud to Children

By singing lullabies or reading aloud parents stimulate their children’s developing minds and help build a base for literacy skills. Counting, number concepts, letter names and shapes, associating sounds with letters, and interest in reading are all relevant to learning to read. Researchers studying high school seniors found early educational experience, such as learning nursery rhymes, watching Sesame Street, playing word and number games, and being read to, are all good predictors of later reading ability.

Reading aloud to a child is truly an expression of love. When you read to your children you're giving and sharing your time, uninterrupted. This special time helps them feel special and loved! You are also providing them with other benefits when you read aloud to your children, two of the most important being helping them with language development and fostering a love of reading which will serve them well in life and learning. The children's books we've included in this article are stories you'll read together again and again every Christmas.

Have you read the Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

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Have you watched the 1966 animated TV show How the Grinch Stole Christmas ?

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Have you seen the Grinch movie starring Jim Carrey?

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Did you know there will be a new Grinch movie released in November 2018 which will be a 3D computer-animated film?

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    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 6 weeks ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Hi Mom's Treasure Chest, I have two daughters; in their 40's now. I did that exact same thing when they were growing up. There were so many cute story books about Christmas, even an Raggedy Ann and Andy one and of course the real Christmas Story. It's one of my most treasured memories of Christmas when they were growing up. We also loved Frosty The Snowman. Thanks for sharing this lovely tradition.

      Blessings to you.

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