Life gets away from me sometimes, so here we are on the first day of Advent and I’m only now posting the books we’ve put up for our advent calendar this year, which doesn’t really give anyone a chance to do the same, but never mind: you can still do a 12 Days of Christmas book calendar, which means next year you only have to get 12 books. Silver linings, eh?

The way I’ve done it this year is to attach a book to each day of our string advent. I’ve made a note on the wrapping so I know which book’s inside too so that I can swap it around if I need or want to.

DSCN4389Below is a list of the books we’re using, and a list of activities that we could ‘copy’ from each book. Most day’s we’ll probably only do one thing, which is good because it means we can use the books a few years in a row!

(If you only want to do a 12 Days of Advent project, I recommend the books with a *)

Some of these books are available as sets or collections from stores like The Works. (2016 update: at the time of updating, The Works have many of these books on a 10 for £10 offer: )



Here’s also a list of more than 60 advent activity ideas.

*Santa Claus – The Magical World of Father Christmas – Rod Green

This is our favourite book for the Christmas period. We have it ‘on hand’ so we can dip in and out of the North Pole throughout the month.

  • This book is in itself an activity


Wakey Wakey Big Brown Bear! – Tracey Corderoy

Wakey Wakey Big Brown Bear

This is my all time favourite winter story – winter because it’s not really Christmas, but it’s still so beautiful it totally works as a Christmas book. You may also recognise it from the John Lewis Christmas advert in 2013 which was quite similar.

 The Polar Express – Chris van Allsburg

The Polar Express

A Christmas Wish – Caroline Antsey & Libby Hamilton


  • Make a silver dish craft
  • Decorate a Christmas tree
  • Go to your town’s Christmas event
  • Make acorn shaped biscuits
  • Take food to a food bank

Best Friends Or Not – Paeony Lewis & Gaby Hansenbest friends or not

  • Make ice crystals
  • Have a snow ball fight
  • Visit the penguins and polar bears at the zoo

Jack Frost – Kazuno Kohara

jack frost

  • Make snowflakes for the window
  • Go Ice skating
  • Build snowmen
  • Experiment with salt and hairdryers to see how fast water melts

*Lucy and Tom’s Christmas – Shirley Hughes

lucy & tom

(We have this 1985 version. I’m assuming the content is the same)

  • Make (or stir) Christmas pudding
  • Make Christmas cards with pictures of Robins and trees
  • Make paper chains
  • Write letters to Father Christmas
  • Sing carols
  • Go to a Christmas market

*The Jolly Christmas Postman– Janet & Allan Ahlberg


  • Write Christmas cards
  • Hand deliver Christmas cards
  • This book is in itself an activity

The Night Before Christmas – CC Moore


We have this 2013 version and this 2015 version

  • Make a snuggly Christmas bed in front of the Christmas tree
  • Make a reindeer craft
  • Make reindeer food

Russel’s Christmas Magic – Rob Scotton514WwCpBm3L._SX486_BO1,204,203,200_

  • Free printable colouring picture
  • Hang lanterns in trees
  • Make ice lanterns
  • Talk about how some children won’t have presents this Christmas, and donate to a toy drive to ‘save Christmas’ for someone else.

This is the Kiss – Claire Harcup

The Mouse That Cancelled Christmas – Madeleine Cook

The Mouse that cancelled christmas

*The Nutcracker  – Retold by Gaby Goldsack5159ptibtFL._SX392_BO1,204,203,200_

  • Tenuous link, but see a show, a pantomime, or an ‘on ice’ show
  • Decorate a gingerbread house in the Kingdom of Sweets

Sam’s Snowflake – Gillian Shields51VEld6ruZL._SX485_BO1,204,203,200_

  • Go tobogganing or on an indoor ski slope
  • Make honey cakes
  • Roast chestnuts
  • Make snowflakes from paper, glitter and cotton wool
  • Hang Christmas stockings

Jesus’ Christmas Party by Nicholas Allan

  • Jesus Christmas PartySet up a nativity scene
  • Listen to Christmas music

*Alfie’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes

Alfie's Christmas

  • Make Christmas decorations
  • Make Christmas cards
  • Make Christmas tree shaped cookies
  • Pick up a real Christmas tree
  • Decorate the Christmas tree
  • Wrap presents
  • Write a letter to Santa
  • Sing Christmas carols
  • Go for a walk, spotting Christmas trees and lights

Little Duck’s First Christmas by Dawn Richards & Heidi D’hamers

  • 511TaruyXFL._SX441_BO1,204,203,200_Make mince pies
  • Sing carols
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Go on a sledge ride
  • Bake angel biscuits
  • Play a game together and share lots of Christmas cuddles!

Is It Christmas? by John Prater


  • Make Christmas cards
  • Make a garland from the Christmas cards you’ve received
  • Help with chores to get the house Christmas ready
  • Bake  Christmas cakes and cookies
  • Play in the snow. Make a snowbear
  • Collect & decorate a Christmas tree
  • Have a picnic by the twinkling Christmas lights

Baby Bear’s Christmas Kiss by John Prater

Baby Bear's Christmas Kiss

  • Go tobogganing or on a ski slope
  • Play Hide and Seek
  • Collect berries or pine cones in the woods and make Christmas crafts

*The Nativity, The Story of Baby Jesus by May Eliot

The Nativity

  • Do a random act of kindness
  • Offer some time or gifts or food to a homeless shelter
  • Go stargazing
  • Make star shaped treats

The Sheep that Saved Christmas by Jason Page & Adrian Reynolds

The Sheep that Saved Christmas

  • Wrap Christmas presents
  • Write out some Christmas jokes

*Mrs Pepperpot’s Christmas by Alf Proysen & Hilda Offen

Mrs Pepperpot's Christmas

Mouse’s Christmas Wish by Judi Abbot


  • Write Christmas lunch or Christmas party invitations
  • Do some Christmas baking like Duck
  • Go ice skating like Bear
  • Go on a train ride – Santa train if you can help it
  • Decorate the tree
  • Hang up stockings
  • Read Christmas stories
  • Play games together

More Precious Than Gold – Gillian Lobel & Julie Monks


*Saint Nicholas – Retold by Mary Joslin

  • 51kE2XgMwAL._SX387_BO1,204,203,200_Host a party and invite someone who may be new/lonely
  • Hang Christmas stockings
  • Drop anonymous gift parcels to neighbours (biscuits or chocolate coins)

*The Christmas Angel –  Pirkko Vainio


  • Bake Christmas cookies – hearts, stars, moons and angels
  • Put up Christmas decorations
  • Make paper star decorations
  • Donate food to the homeless/volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Add string to cookies and decorate the tree
  • Sing carols

*One Christmas Night – M. Christina Butler & Tina Macnaughton



  • Make mince pies
  • Make Christmas Cake
  • Make a giant golden star for the tree
  • Go for a forest walk and collect holly, chestnuts and acorns to decorate a nature area of the house
  • Decorate holly twigs in red green and gold glitter
  • Make Christmas gifts for friends – bake a cake, paint a picture, make felt stockings full of  nuts

*The Animals Christmas Eve – Gale Wiersum

The Animals Christmas Eve

  • Go to a Nativity play
  • Visit a farm or a donkey sanctuary
  • Go star gazing
  • Make a star craft

*The Snowman – Raymond Briggs


  • Play in the snow
  • Build a snowman
  • Make snowman cookies
  • Make a snowman craft
  • Go to a Christmas party
  • Visit Santa in his grotto
  • Take photos using Christmas props and fancy dress

The Perfect Gift – Tim Bugbird


  • Make acorn biscuits (dipped in chocolate and gold leaf)
  • Collect acorns and other winter foliage for decoration
  • Make gingerbread men
  • Decorate a Christmas tree
  • Make festive lanterns
  • Go or listen to caroling
  • Hang stockings

One Magical Christmas – Alice Wood



We Three Kings – Rosie Greening


  • Clear out toys and clothes for charity
  • Find a local toy drive to donate toys to




Categories: Projects & Series


Christmas Stories With Matching Activities For A Book Advent

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