It’s Christmas Eve and our family is rocking our matching Christmas uniforms pajamas: red shirts with a Santa snowman, which reads “A Very Merry Me,” and red flannel pants.
We’ve eaten our traditional Christmas Eve Dinner: turkey and ham sandwiches with all the fixings, and plates of pita and hummus, and cheese and crackers.
Now we gather around the Christmas tree: it’s book exchange time.
Growing up in a family of book lovers, the “Book Game,” as we lovingly call it, is a part of our family’s Christmas Eve DNA. We look forward to it almost as much as the presents around the tree the next morning.
Here’s the rundown:
My dad picks out books for every member of the family from the littlest baby to the grandma, based on our interests. There could be fiction, non-fiction, biography, cookbooks, photo books, coffee table books, etc. Last year, I think I got all the headlines from The Onion in a coffee table style book. Ha!
He wraps them up and brings them to the tree. Each book has a number on it, and my dad has a master list with everyone’s name corresponding to their number (to ensure he doesn’t forget).
Next, one person (usually my mom) starts the guessing game. After looking at all the wrapped books, said person gives a book to each family member gathered ‘round the tree. My dad says which books, if any, are matched with the correct owner. Then, another family member takes a turn guessing where the books go, and so on until all the books are with their rightful owner. Then, we open them and see what we got!
If you’re in a family of bookworms, consider adding the “Book Game” to your family traditions this year. I’m not really a big advocate of telling people to add another tradition to an already full schedule (Elf on the Shelf, I hear you’re to blame!), but I’d make an exception for this one. It’s so fun, plus I think books are the best gifts of all!
If you decide to implement the “Book Game” to your Christmas Eve repertoire this year, here are some great suggestions of books for the whole family:
Note: this could totally be adapted for other holiday celebrations, too. 🙂
I love to get kids a new Christmas/holiday/winter themed book for the book game. Here are some ideas:
Bear Snores On – A cozy winter read for kids of all ages.
How Do Dinosaur’s Say “Happy Chanukah?” – This dinosaur series is a huge hit with my preschooler, so this might be a fun book to add to your collection.
The Song of the Stars – If you’re looking for a book that shares the Nativity story, this book is so poignantly sweet that you may shed a tear yourself.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – For the elementary aged kid on your list. This book is HILARIOUS. I was in a play adaptation in middle school and loved it.
For the Mamas, Aunts, Grandmas
The Royal We – This book is just plain fun. It’s a re-imagining of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s love story. No one is saying it is a deep, intelligent read; it’s just the right amount of fluff. We dare you to put it down. Parenthood fans: rumor has it this will turn into a movie produced by Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman.
After You – The follow up to the wildly popular Me Before You.
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime. If someone on your list isn’t a huge reader, the latest cookbook by ever-popular food blogger The Pioneer Woman will be sure to please.
Go Set a Watchman – The much-buzzed-about book by Harper Lee. This manuscript was written before To Kill A Mockingbird, and it has a much different feel than the high-school classic. Read it for yourself and see what you think.
For Papas, Uncles, and Grandads
11/22/63 – A Stephen King book that’s not scary. A time travel book based on trying to change history by attempting to stop the Kennedy assassination.
Boys in the Boat – If they liked Unbroken, they will love this book about an American rowing team in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
All the Light We Cannot See – Regarded by many to be the best book of the year, this one lives up to the hype.