getting started with a kids book advent calendar tradition - tips, tricks, and book picks

One of the holiday traditions that I get super excited and all squealy about is our children’s book advent calendar. Since we’re big-time book lovers, it made perfect sense for us to turn our “calendar” into a basket overflowing with books. We do the whole cheap chocolate thing too, but the girls and I absolutely love the excitement of opening up a book each and every night leading up to Christmas, getting under a cozy blanket, and reading by Christmas tree light.

Before I give you a peek at some of the books that are included in our tradition, I thought it might be helpful to give you a few tips. This does not have to be an expensive tradition! I am the Queen of Cheap. I would not run to the nearest bookstore and shell out hundreds of dollars on books that we’ll only read once a year.

How to build a children’s book advent calendar library without going broke

our children's book advent calendar basket

1) Be flexible. The books don’t all have to be about Christmas. I include any wintry books that make us all holly jolly. If there’s snow involved, it can be considered! This makes it much easier to do the next step.

2) Shop your personal library. Comb through your children’s book collection and make a great big pile of books that could work. You might be surprised at what you already have. Depending on how many books you own, you might not even need to go out and purchase more.

3) Get thrifty. If you do need to fill in (we did), don’t head straight to the bookstore. Hit up tag sales, consignment stores, and library sales first. You’d be amazed at how many used books you can grab for a dollar.

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Majestically Awkward podcast | where awkward friends talk about awkward things

In this episode, we’re talking about weird food issues. How does what was drilled into you in childhood affect how you eat today? Did your parents pass down any weird food aversions? We go on to talk about foods that we hate (spoiler alert: Tim’s are the weirdest) before moving on to segment two: Is This for Real?

This week’s topic is Reddit forums, which, again, I have absolutely no clue about. I generally think of Reddit as a deep dark filthy dungeon. This game did absolutely nothing to convince me otherwise.

Last but not least, we wrap up by getting awkward as I share a story about meeting Tim’s entire extended family for the first time.

As always, our show is not safe for kids. Our potty mouths flow freely and we talk about a lot of adult topics.

Also, if you’d like to play along with us for our Is This for Real? segment, don’t scroll down until after you listen. There are spoilers ahead!

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7 Hilarious White Elephant Gift Ideas - Horse Head Squirrel Feeder

Every year my friends and I get all of our spouses and kids together for a big, fat (loud) holiday party. The kids run around like sugared-up wildebeests while the grownups participate in a hilarious (and sometimes inappropriate) white elephant gift exchange. We work really hard to find the most out there, ridiculous products imaginable and end up with sore cheeks from all of the laughter.

Sometimes called a Yankee Swap, white elephant gift exchanges are a lot of fun. In case you’re not familiar with them, here’s how we do it. We set a price limit (usually $20) and we each buy a gag gift. We wrap the gift and bring it to the party. When it’s time to exchange, we put everyone’s name into a hat. Each person chooses a gift and opens it, but the person who comes next can choose to unwrap a new present or steal one of the opened presents.

It’s a lot of fun.

To be honest though, the fun starts while shopping for your gift. Since I can spend hours poring through gag gifts to find the perfect gift, I thought I’d share a few of the funniest ones I found to make your white elephant gift hunt a little easier.

7 White Elephant Gift Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Make You Laugh

7 Hilarious White Elephant Gift Ideas - Toilet Golf

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Teaching Toys for Kids Gift Guide | BeginAgain Animal Parade A-Z Puzzle

I don’t know about you, but my kids have reached the Holy Crap We Have Too Many Toys and I Have No Idea Where We Can Cram Any More stage. The struggle is real and it’s something I keep in mind when I buy things for other people’s kids. Before I shell out cash, I try to ask myself: does it stand out on its own or will it just get lost in a sea of stuff? Lately, I’ve turned to teaching toys because, more often than not, they do stand out on their own.

A really good teaching toy is one that is stealthy. Kids are learning without even realizing that they’re learning (otherwise cries of booooriiiiiiiing! will ruin things), but they still get that confidence-boosting rush when they realize they’ve figured something out on their own. That feeling is kind of addictive and will make kids continue to seek out things that give them that feeling—more learning.

To help you out when hunting for the perfect gift, I put together a list of nine of my favorite learning toys. These toys are for a variety of ages and price ranges and I’m pretty sure there’s something here for everyone!

9 fun, kid-approved teaching toys

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Teaching Toys for Kids Gift Guide | Osmo Coding Awbie Game + Genius Kit for iPad

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In this week’s episode, we talk about something that we find both weird and hilarious: the way products are marketed to men or women. We know we’re different creatures, but the stereotypical ways that advertisers try to reach our demographics have sometimes hilarious results. We also played another round of Is This for Real?  This week’s theme was horror movies and got pretty freaking silly. We wrapped up with an awkward moment that involved one of Jen’s thieving children.

As always, this episode is not safe to listen to with kids around. We have potty mouths and discuss adult topics, so wait until the kids are asleep or you’re at the gym with some earbuds in.

If you want to play Is This For Real? along with us, don’t scroll down to the show notes until after listening—there are some spoilers!

Majestically Awkward podcast | Eau De Lepus

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