It’s that time of year again. No, not the New Year. I mean, YES, it’s New Year’s Eve, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the semi-annual bookshelf purge. Specifically, today it’s time to look over the books that were part of our Advent Calendar of Books, and weed out the ones that can safely be donated to the preschool.

Which means making the crucial decision of which books to keep.

christmasbooks copy

There are a few points I like to keep in mind during bookshelf purges:

  1. My son is a (beginning) reader, but my daughter hasn’t started reading yet, so I need to hang on to at least SOME of the books he’s outgrown so she can grow into them.
  2. Some of the books my son has technically outgrown have sentimental value to him. So he may be over Thomas most of the time, but on holidays and in the summer he drags out the trains and train books, and I think it’s important to respect that. We’re keeping The Missing Christmas Tree and Thomas’ Night Before Christmas and we’ve added Santa’s Little Engine.
  3. As much as media tie-in products annoy me, they don’t annoy my children. So I try to strike a balance between my urge to get rid of everything overly-branded, and their urge to keep anything they ever once saw a commercial for. See Thomas in #2, and also Barbie: a Special Christmas, Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Christmas Wish, and the Backyardigans: Jingle Bell Christmas.
  4. Christmas is a religious holiday. I read my children retellings of the Christmas story every year. So I need a few of those. Also, I am a sucker for any retelling of the Christmas Story told from the point of view of the animals in the stable (really; I cry over these regularly), so for my own happiness a couple of choices in this important category have to be “I said the donkey”-type versions. We like Who is Coming to Our House?, Room for a Little One, Christmas in the Manger, and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift.
  5. My children have one Canadian parent (me) and one Australian one (their father), and we like to have our bookshelves reflect that. So if you look closely at that picture you’ll see The Fairies Christmas Wishes, Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas, A Porcupine in a Pine Tree, and Dashing Through the Snow.
  6. It may eventually cause me to lose my mind, but the kids love to listen to The Twelve Dogs of Christmas and follow along with the book. Over and over and OVER. And they both started to recognize words while still in the pre-reader stage by doing this, so overall, it’s worth tolerating.