I know this is not breaking news, given what’s been in stores since pre-Halloween, but the holiday season is upon us.

Since we’re already here, I wanted to share one of my holiday family traditions that involves the library.  One of the things that I love about Fort Collins is the diversity of beliefs, so I hope that if this tradition interests you, you can find a way to adapt it to your own belief system!

I try to keep the possessions that enter the house during the holiday season to the bare minimum, so instead of a pile of gifts on December 25th, we do a countdown to Christmas with books.  I wrap 25 books and number them 1-25, and every day in December the kids unwrap a new book to read.  They love the excitement of unwrapping anything (I may start wrapping new toothpaste tubes, now that I’m thinking of it), and they love the thrill of a new book.

Now I’m a librarian, so you might think I own mountains of books, but that is simply not the case (you also might think I don’t have library fines.  Equally not true!  $2.75 as of this writing).  While we do have a few gifted picture books, I get 99% of our books from the library.  There is no way I have or will purchase 25 Christmas picture books (see: possession control attempts above).  So this is where the library and its extensive Christmas book collection come in!

Stay with me, because this will require some planning.  I use a mix of books I own, “Christmas” books from the library, and non-Christmas winter-themed books from the library.  Christmas books check out for one week (and do accumulate fines, unlike regular picture books), so I stagger them amongst the others.  I place holds for Christmas collection books I’ve picked out ahead of time, and I browse it in person for whatever strikes my fancy.  By the time the one week checkout books are due, the kids are already into the newest books they’ve unwrapped, and don’t mind that I’m returning some.

If you like the idea of new family traditions, but this one just isn’t for you, try the New book of family traditions: how to create great rituals for holidays and every day for some great ideas.

If you’re looking for some non-Christmas books (winter, family gathering, manners) that you can check out for the standard three weeks, try:

Bear has a story to tell by Philip C. Stead

Big Snow by Jonathan Beam

First Snow by Peter McCarty

The little kids’ table by Mary Ann McCabe Riehle

Please is a good word to say by Barbara Joosse

Skippyjon Jones : Snow what by Judy Schachner

Toys meet snow : being the wintertime adventures of a curious stuffed buffalo, a sensitive plush stingray, and a book-loving rubber ball by Emily Jenkins

If you have other outside-the-box family traditions to share, please let us know in the comments!