20 Holiday Traditions that Encourage Reading!

20 Holiday Traditions that Encourage Reading!

November 30, 2023

It's the most wonderful time of the year! We love learning about the different holiday traditions that families embrace to make this time of year even more special! We especially love traditions that encourage a love of reading! Anything to grow little readers! 

Here are 20 delightful holiday traditions that will light up your home with the joy of reading! 

1. Do as the Icelanders do!

In Iceland, there is a tradition called Jolabokaflod or the Christmas book flood. The tradition began during World War II after Iceland gained its independence from Denmark. Icelanders gifted books to one another on Christmas Eve because paper was one of the few commodities that wasn't rationed during the war. Literary gifts are given on Christmas Eve and everyone stays up late reading! This sounds like perfection to me, but it gets even better! The tradition is to accompany the book reading with hot chocolate or a Christmas ale. 

2. Holiday puzzles & audiobooks!

On holiday weekends, find a fun holiday puzzle to do while listening to a family friendly audiobook! We're currently working on this cute winter-themed dog puzzle which is perfect because even though it's 500 pieces, the individual dogs make it easy enough for our 5 and 7 year old to work on it happily. Here's a fun list of Spanish audiobooks that you can listen to while puzzling away!

3. Gift a holiday book on December 1!

Some families do December 1 boxes to kick off the holidays when they bring out holiday jammies and other treats. This is such a fun one, and you don't have to get a new book - you can get one at the library or just bring out one from a previous year. I love pulling out any holiday themed books we have each year - they feel like brand new books every year but they also have super special memories attached! Here's a fun list of 24 Spanish language books for the holidays!


4. Host a book exchange party!

This is a fun and inexpensive way to host friends or family for the holidays. Have everyone bring an appetizer and a book to share. You can do it White Elephant style, plan ahead with Secret Santa or just do a simple trade!

5. Host a blind date book party

This is another fun way to do a book exchange! You can host it as an adult event or a kids event. Have everyone in the group pick out a book and wrap it up in kraft paper or paper that you can easily write on. Then have each person write a few things about the book they chose on the paper. These could be things like the genre, topics covered, length, etc! Then let everyone pick a blind date book and watch the unwrapping excitement unfold!

6. Learn about the holidays you may not celebrate through stories

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year, the Lunar New Year, etc..., find books about other holidays to introduce your little ones to different holidays and traditions! We're currently reading this book about the story of Hanukkah and this Spanish language book about the first Christmas

7. Traveling? Bring back a souvenir book about the city! 

If you're traveling for the holidays, consider getting a local book as a souvenir. One of the things that brings me so much joy when traveling is popping into a local children's bookstore. I always ask for a picture book that takes place in that city or has a special connection to it. It makes the book a little bit extra special! I recently bought Bolivar by Sean Rubin to bring back for my kids when I was on a work trip to New York. It's so beautiful and was a fun way to take a piece of NYC back to them!

8. Create an Advent Calendar of Books

Wrap up some books you already have and if you'd like to, add a few new ones! Create your own advent calendar with 24 fun books to read each night. Or enjoy one that's pre-made. We had a wonderful Disney advent calendar last year with 24 mini books, and this year it's available in Spanish

9.  Sibling Book Gifts

If you have multiple kiddos, consider giving them each a small budget to shop for a new book for their sibling. It's so fun to see what they pick out for each other! For extra fun, have them write each other a special note in the book about a fun memory from the year. Or let them pick out a book from the library that they think their sibling would enjoy! 

 10. Drop off a book at a local Little Free LIbrary

In the spirit of the holidays, its a great time to take any extra books that you're no longer using to a local Little Free Library or donate them to a classroom. 

11. Cookbooks are books too!

Borrow a holiday cookbook from the library! Pick a recipe to cook together. I have this cookie advent calendar cookbook on my wishlist! 

12. Literary Eats

Have a favorite book that has a delicious meal scene? Recreate it for a special holiday dinner! Here are a few ideas for inspirationMy personal favorite is the big chocolate cake inspired by Matilda!

13. Make a Book of the Year Together

Also known as a photo album ;) For the last couple of years, I've tried to create a photo album for each of the kids stockings, and it's suprising how much of a hit they've been! They have loved looking back at all of the fun things that they did throughout the year. 

14. Be a book fairy!

In Italy, the idea of a book fairy has taken off. After you finish whatever you're reading, instead of putting it back on the shelf to collect dust, leave it somewhere that someone else can find and enjoy it! Think coffee shop, park bench, train! Leave a post-it so that whoever finds it knows it's okay to take and enjoy and pass along!

15. Volunteer to Read

Give back to yoru community by reading! Offer to lead storytime at the library or call a local senior living facility or hospital to see if you can come read aloud. The holidays are a time when that extra company can make a big difference.

16. Create a family recipe book

Try to gather 10 recipes from family and put them together. Use a binder for simplicity or a service like Shutterfly if you want to go a bit fancier! The holidays are a perfect time to make sure you have those important family recipes written down! Make it extra special by adding a little story about when you last enjoyed that recipe. 

17. Make your reading resolutions for the year ahead!

The holiday season is also a great time to think about resolutions. I love trying to start them off in a low pressure way in December so that I can get some practice at them and not give up when I fail one day 2 days into the year. My reading resolution this year was to read in front of my kids that they could see it as a fun activity that adults choose to do! This year, I want to do it more regularly - each Sunday morning and maybe even a few weekday mornings if I can get up and get organized!

18. Pajama Reading Party

The holidays can be overwhelming. Put one night on the calendar to decompress. After dinner, just have everyone get in their jammies and read independently. 

19. Create a cozy holiday reading nook

Do you have a little reading nook at home? Whether it's just a few cushions next to the coach or a little tent the kids play in, don't forget to decorate it for the holidays to make it extra appealing! 


 20. Literary stockings

If you do holiday stockings, books are the perfect size, and they give kids something to do on holiday mornings as you prep breakfast or get things done! Our books that sing may just be the perfect size ;) 


What other holiday traditions do you enjoy with your families? Would love more inspiration!

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