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Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Christmas Nursery

Christmas is my favorite time of year, the entire house gets decorations, even bathrooms.  This is the first Christmas that I've had my son who will be 3 months old for Christmas.  I wasn't planning on completely redecorating his room, however this year we started a tradition of book advent calendar. Since the nursery is mainly decorated with books, it seemed so natural to decorate the rest of the room to match.

Wrapped picture frames and Christmas book advent calendar on picture ledges

Hanging snowflakes and card stock reindeer and sleigh

Decal trees decorated with reusable sticker ornaments

See how the nursery looks for the rest of the year.

Like what you see and want it for yourself?

Add holiday ribbon to your stuffed animals to give them a festive flare! Tie the ribbon into a bow or wrap it around the neck like a winter scarf.

Wrap any picture frames with wrapping paper and bows. Its an easy way to instantly bring some holiday cheer into a room.

Replace any fabric items such as pillow cases, blankets, crib skirts and changing pad covers with Christmas themed ones. You can replace or cover a large frame with an advent calendar. You can find my Angel calendar at Fabric.com along with a lot of other designs. I made the Santa Suit changing pad cover from an apron panel I found in store at Hobby Lobby but you can find it online at Etsy. You have to piece the pockets into the arm hole area and find some red fabric to make up the difference, but it looks pretty good still!

Place holiday wall decal or reusable stickers, the kind used on windows or sliding doors work well, on the wall.  I got mine from a super Joann's in the seasonal section but they aren't available online.  It had pine branches, which didn't match the nursery trees, so I just used the ornaments from 4 packages.

Hang craft foam or paper snowflakes from the ceiling using Command Hooks.  I took down all of the nursery's normal hot air balloons and replaced them with snowflakes. You don't have to go crazy, 3 in a corner gives the right affect without over crowding the rest of the decorations.  I found both the large foam and smaller 3D cardstock snowflakes at Hobby Lobby in the seasonal craft section.  I hung them from artisan wire, its easier to make loops to hang from the Command Hooks and looks better then string. I also found a card stock craft kit with reindeer and sleigh at Hobby Lobby or you could use Martha Stewart's holiday garland.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Little Golden Book Christmas Advent Book Calendar

In November, I saw a Facebook post from a friend who is an emerging children book author.  When I saw the picture of books wrapped for a Christmas advent calendar I fell in love.  I thought I would save the idea for next year, when my son was old enough to enjoy opening presents (he is only 2 months old now).  I shared the post to my Facebook wall and my grandmother, who we call Baba in Ukrainian tradition, saw it and fell in love too.  At a lunch we discussed it and she loved the idea, and would want to make 3 of them to give to all of her grand kids, but she felt it was too late to go and find all the books in time for 2013 Christmas.  Boy was she wrong ;)  I told her with Amazon, we could find all the books, even vintage used ones, and have them shipped in a week or 2, just in time for December 1st.

The Books
We found Little Golden Books at Barnes & Noble, one of the last local brick-and-mortar book stores in our area, on sale as well as Amazon and Amazon Marketplace.  Each book averaged around $4, the trick is to get multiple vintage books for 1 cent at one reseller at the Amazon Marketplace. We tried Friends of the Library stores and consignment sales but didn't find any Little Golden Books there, online is really your best bet.  You can find collections and lots of them on eBay or Etsy, just be careful of the shipping costs.

Here is a Amazon Collection of Christmas Little Golden Books. You can pick the best ones that fit your child's interests, like Barbie, Thomas or Veggie Tales.

The Box
We decided to display and store the wrapped books in a box.  You have to find a box that is about 1/2 inch wider and taller then the largest book to account for the wrapping.  For Little Golden Books that is about 7x8x8 box. We found the perfect sized box at Container Store but you could also find similar shaped boxes at Hobby Lobby or even on Amazon.  In the inside of the lid, Baba wrote a message to each grand child.

We decorate my son's nursery for Christmas, replacing all of the regular books on display with Christmas books. So instead of keeping the books in the box, we just use the box for storage and display the wrapped books on the picture ledges we use as front facing book cases.  It looks festive and will help him learn numbers trying to hunt for the right numbered label.

Want to make it a multi-generational tradition?
If you have multiple children in a family, once they grow up, divide the books up and buy new ones to build book advent calendars for their future families while still passing down books and the tradition.

Find other ideas for Book Advent Calendars on Pinterest.

The Thank You Gift
Since Baba was so generous in creating these three Christmas book advent calendars for her grand children's children, I wanted to gave her a thank you gift that she could wear and think of her far away great grand kids.  In my book searches on Etsy, I found a beautiful hand made bracelet with little pictures of the covers of Christmas Little Golden Books.  It was perfect! When I gave it to Baba she cried, so happy knowing she can wear the bracelet and think of her grand kids reading the books and enjoying the holiday season.