12 Days of Christmas (or December) in the Classroom

Are you looking to add a little holiday magic to your classroom? Try wrapping 12 holiday or winter books for your class--they don't have to be brand new. Unwrap one book each day and read it aloud for 12 days of Christmas (or December). This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. That means I get a small commission if you use my links to buy something, but at no cost to you.

Add these tags to your wrapped books that say "Don't open until _________." Since we aren't at school every day in December due to weekends and winter break, you can plan when to start opening each book so that the last book is opened on the day before break. If you do elf on the shelf in your classroom, it can be a present from your elf! If you don't do elf on the shelf or you don't specify Christmas in your classroom, you can use the tags that are for 12 days of December with books to unwrap from your teacher. You can even ask parents to donate a wrapped read aloud book for the 12 days or Christmas or December so it's a surprise for you as well! You may want to include a sign up genius if you do it this way so you don't get the same book. You can even have the parent who donated the book to come read it to your class! There is a tag for all of these options included in the bundle below.

In my classroom, at the beginning of the year, I added a little fairy or elf door. Throughout the year, we have discovered that they are elves, like the elves from the book The Elves and the Shoemaker. Periodically our elves leave us notes and presents. They are cousins to the elves in the North Pole, so they have been gone for a little while helping their cousins during this busy time of year. But they have returned with 12 read alouds wrapped for the 12 days of Christmas!

Our elves are also friends with the Leprechauns who live in Ireland, and they bring them to our classroom for a visit in March. They play little tricks on us around St. Patrick's Day and we try to catch them! Read more about how I set this up in my classroom in the blog post 3 Back to School Books With Creative Gifts & Activities For The Beginning of the Year. If you didn't start with elves in your classroom at the beginning of the year, now is still a fun time to start! Your first book to open could be The Elves and the Shoemaker which can be a clue to who your new little friends are!
One of the parents in my classroom made this little house for the elves! The kids were SO excited! It is amazing! And we can change out the decor as different holidays come around!

Whoever you decide your wrapped read alouds are from, have fun sharing one with your class for 12 days of Christmas (or December). Here are some of my favorite books to use in this activity. If you are a teacher, you know that this time of year kids are C R A Z Y. Keeping their attention is a daily challenge. You need read alouds that are fun, meaningful, and not too long or you'll lose them. So while I love books like the Grinch and the Polar Express, because they are also movies, kids struggle to sit through these LONG read alouds at this time of year. That is just a teacher truth, so I stick to shorter stories. 

If you focus on the holidays, here are some of my favorites. The stories about specific holidays are a little longer, just FYI . . . 


If you want to stick to winter books, these are some of my favorites.

I personally do a combo of both kind of books in my classroom. There are some great activities that you can do with many of these books as well. 
  • The Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Connor: This is a story about a family and a family that lives inside their snow globe that mirrors what happens in their family! Here is an activity from Ideas by Jivey called Reading in a Winter Wonderland: The Snowglobe Family . And here is an oldie but goodie-- If I Lived In A Snowglobe by Hope King. I think there are more out there! We also have our students make their own snow globe ornament for their parents as a present. With a picture of their face, they add a body doing something in the snow. Then we add snow or cotton balls. They turn out so cute and original each year!
  • Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner: This is a fun story to read about what Snowmen must do when kids are not around at night. Jen Kimbrell has a fun literacy activity that includes coding with this book Fun Coding Activities For Kids that Teach Literacy Skills.
  • Our Table by Peter Reynolds: This beautiful book is a good reminder about spending time with family and not getting too caught up in technology. Use 'Our Table' Bingo as "homework" for your students over the holidays. It has opportunities for students to spend time together and share the pictures with you!

Do you have any other favorite read alouds for this time of year? Do you have activities to go with them? Leave them in the comments below!

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