A Minimalist Auntie's Holiday Tradition for Kids

A Minimalist Auntie's Holiday Tradition for Kids

Several years ago I found this gift idea on Pinterest, and immediately loved the concept!

Start a holiday tradition of delivering a special book to children on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. The whole family sits and reads this special book together.

Over the past three years, Santa has delivered my book choices to my nieces and nephew in their mail box.

Decorating the package is simple...

  • I bought a large ream of plain brown wrapping paper from The Container Store.  A great find for many different kinds of gifts.
  • I use a black Sharpie to write in the addresses.
  • I'll also draw in some postage stamps.
  • My finishing touch is decorating the package with some winter and Christmas-themed stickers.

Delivering the package seemed a bit more complicated...

For years, I would send my package to my sister to have her place it in the mailbox sometime on Christmas Eve morning.

This strategy worked well when she had one child who took frequent naps. With three kids on various schedules, my sister found sneaking out of the house, even for a minute, increasingly difficult.

However, mom's have clever solutions!

As the kids got older, my sister introduced the Elf on the Shelf. This year, for the first time, Scarlett Nutmeg will be delivering the books overnight for the kids to find the next morning.

A total win! This strategy makes keeping this tradition manageable for the moms who aren't ninjas. And it's one Elf Night that's easily planned. I've seen the various posts of ideas for Elf shenanigans. I'm not sure how parents keep creating original interactions.

Choosing the book is the true fun!

The first year I sent my three-year old niece The Poky Little Puppy's First Christmas. Even though that year wasn't her first Christmas, she liked Little Golden Books.

Right now, my nephew is two and he loves The Poky Little Puppy, so I'm hoping he sees this book in the holiday book basket that my sister rotates into their reading time because I know he'll love it.

The second year, my nieces had dressed up as pirates for Halloween and their baby brother was the cutest sea monster (baby octopus costume)! Santa decided to send them three different books that were all pirate-themed.

A Pirate's Night Before Christmas was the most entertaining out of the three, but my nieces loves stories so they stuck with all three of the books.

Last year I wanted to find a holiday book with a dragon. I had high hopes for Mimi and the Mountain Dragon. Even though the story is sweet, there's just too much ponderous text for a quick bedtime read.

This year, I knew I had to find an engaging book choice for all three of the kids, and I think I did with Toot and Puddle's Let It Snow.

Toot and Puddle are the most adorable pigs who are trying to give each other meaningful gifts. They both know that hand-made gifts mean more than any "whatsit anyone could buy in a store."

The illustrations that highlight how well these two friends know each other are just charming.

During the story it snows and the friends go out to enjoy the day. Their magical journey is full of quiet. The friends are skiing in silence and soaking in the beauty around them.

Puddle says, "I wish I could take this morning and put it in my pocket and keep it forever."

My introvert heart just grows reading words like those.

After their inspiring outing, the friends figure out what to make for each other.  I love the illustrations of each little pig tucked away in their special creation space to make their gift.

Naturally, each friend creates the perfect gift and the story ends with a poignant message about friendship and gift giving. I cannot wait to see how my nieces and nephew react to this year's Santa Story.


As someone who doesn't buy into the commercialization of Christmas, keeping this tradition lets me spread a little holiday cheer that feels more authentic to the spirit of the season than the mindless materialism present in so much of our culture.

What holiday traditions do you have that remind you of the true meaning of the season? Please share in the comments below.

Book Review: See America: A Celebration of Our National Parks & Treasured Sites

Book Review: See America: A Celebration of Our National Parks & Treasured Sites

Mini-Reviews: The Dispatcher by John Scalzi and Deadlocked by A.R. Wise

Mini-Reviews: The Dispatcher by John Scalzi and Deadlocked by A.R. Wise