free printable christmas tagsYesterday, I had a lightbulb moment.  I’m a little embarrassed to share it, but I will–with the hope that many of my readers will stop and think… “OMG. Yes.  Duh.  YESSSSS.”

Let me state the obvious, first.  Here are the known facts.  1.  Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.  2.  Christmas countdowns and Advent calendars begin on December 1st.

Here’s where my mind was blown though. The amount of days between Thanksgiving and December 1st vary from year to year.  Therefore, the amount of days you have to enjoy (or stress over) the holidays vary from year to year.

I’m an ass.    I HAD NO IDEA.

OK–to be fair, I just never thought about it.  Back in the day, when I was a kid–I just knew there were way too many days to get through until that magical night when Santa would leave gifts under the tree for me, in exchange for my good behavior and a plate full of cookies.

It didn’t even occur to me last year, when I was working in retail *and* was enjoying the fact that my son was old enough to understand the “magic of Christmas” and the concept behind an Advent calendar.

In 2012, Thanksgiving fell on November 22nd, which gave us eight whole days to prepare for any sort of Christmas countdown.  If you have the Elf On A Shelf and he arrives on December 1st, you had over a week to plan and finalize your shenanigans.  We all had exactly 32 shopping days until Christmas.

This year, Thanksgiving fell on November 28th, which gives us a whopping two days to prepare for the Christmas countdown traditions we have, and a total of 26 shopping days until Christmas.

I thought I’d bring this to your attention because chances are, you’ll find yourself saying, “why do I not have enough time to do everything before Christmas?” at least once this season.  Do not feel defeated because you seem to have lost your Wonder Woman Yule-per Powers (you know–your holiday super powers).  It’s not you…it’s the calendar.  We were spoiled with extra time last year, and many of us didn’t realize it.

Last year, I gave my son a Playmobil Advent calendar and he SO loved opening a new door every day…counting down his way to Christmas and the delightful discovery of a tiny Playmobil trinket to add to his collection.

We’re huge Playmobil fans here.  We’re also funemployed this year, so we’ve had to make some serious changes in our spending–if we want to make it through this dark time in our life with our marriage and our family happiness still in tact.  Change is hard, and I’ll readily admit I Do Not Like It.  I want things to be the way they were.  I want to go back to 2012.  I want to go back to 2011.  I’ll go back to any year if I can avoid facing the changes of 2013.

But that’s not productive.

So…no Playmobil Advent calendar this year.  The $20 + tax is better off being saved and used towards a Santa gift under the tree.  Instead, I’ve wrapped 24 books in red wrapping paper (and some argyle wrapping paper, because I ran out of red).  Each book has a sweet little vintage label that I made specifically for this countdown, and one by one, my son will unwrap those books–and we’ll read our way to Christmas this year.

I have the labels available for you to download and print for personal use–I’ll include them at the bottom of this blog post.  I also have a book list–in case you’re looking for some Christmas book inspiration!

I was a pre-K teacher before Gabriel was born, so the only money outlay on my part was a dollar for the red wrapping paper.  I already had lots of holiday books in my personal library (though I have none about the birth of Jesus, since I taught in a federally funded pre-K program).

I didn’t have 24 Christmas-themed books exactly, so I supplemented with books about winter and/or snow.  I also have several different copies of The Gingerbread Man and The Night Before Christmas–which will be interesting to read because they are retold in different styles and illustrated in so many unique styles.

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A lot of my books have a sticker in the corner–this was my way of categorizing them for my personal library.  All of my holiday books were #43.  I don’t have them categorized any more, but seeing those stickers reminds me of my pre-marriage, pre-motherhood days.  *warm fuzzies*

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I don’t expect you to be as anal retentive as I am, but…  I used a calendar to plan out my reading.  Some of the books are exceptionally wordy, and I didn’t want to read those on a school night!  Life happens–we get busy, we get tired…I wanted to make this Christmas Book Advent successful for us.

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I printed the labels on cardstock (plain paper is absolutely fine) and trimmed them with my paper trimmer.

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You’ll start with #24 and work your way backwards to #1.  Just to help you out (and really–more for ME because I get confused with numbers), I added the date in very small print next to Santa’s hand.  So on the tag that says #24, it also says “December 1.”

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It took a little over an hour to wrap all the books.  As you can see, I ran out of red paper, so I had to improvise and use argyle paper to finish the job.  It looks fine, I know–I am just stupidly OCD about stuff……it has to be the same!!  Grrrr….

The unwrapping begins tomorrow!  I am very excited, and so is Gabriel!

Because of my current life circumstances, I cannot give you much.  But I can give you the PDF files of the tags I made, free for your personal use.  Consider it a little holiday token of appreciation from me to you–and I thank you for visiting and supporting my site as I begin my third month of blogging!  Feel free to share with friends and family or repost on your own blog or website–all I ask is that you give Glitter & Bruises credit and/or a link back!

Download tags 24-13 HERE.

Download tags 12-1 HERE.

Please join the Glitter & Bruises community on Facebook HERE.

Merry Christmas!

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booklist