Advent calendars are more popular than ever! You can find calendars that count the days to Christmas with socks, chocolates, pet treats, and Lego figures. But you can start one of the best advent countdown traditions at home with a story advent calendar.

First, decide how many days you want to count down to Christmas. You can start on December 1st (twenty-four days) or just do it the week before Christmas (seven days). Next, choose books of a length the family can read aloud each evening. Choose one book for each day of the countdown. If you want to read chapter books, you might choose one a week. You can select Christmas books (we’ve listed several below) or revisit favorite books your family loves.

The third step is to gather the books from your shelves or visit the library and create your countdown ‘calendar.’ You can either wrap all the books and ask your children to pick one each night or put the names of the books in a holiday hat or bowl and draw one each day. You might end the countdown on Christmas Eve with a brand-new book for the family.

The final step is to cozy up each evening with the book of the day and read together.

Here is the Night Buddies list of holiday books to get you started:

*How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

*The Night Tree by Eve Bunting

*Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Rick Bunsen

*The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

*The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

*The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

*Frosty the Snowman by Jack Rollins

*The Giving Snowman by Julia Zheng

*The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert

*Home for Christmas by Jan Brett

*Never Let a Unicorn Meet a Reindeer by Diane Alber

*How to Catch an Elf by Adam Wallace

*12 Days of Christmas illustrated by Lara Hawthorne