I have always been a lover of books.
Big books, small books, funny books, scary books … As a little girl, I was quite the little history buff with many a book about famous female scientists, the Holocaust, the Underground Railroad, etc. (you know, light reading for a 12 year old).
So, when I became pregnant, I topped my “things I’ll always do for my child list” with “I’ll read to them every night so they know the joy of reading.” I’m happy to say that this is one thing that we commit to every night. Even my furry soul mate, Luna, has to join us on “Mommy’s nap mat” in the toddler’s room to “read the book.”
I saw an idea on Facebook to wrap 25 books and give your child a book to unwrap for every night until Christmas. I thought to myself, “what a fabulous idea! This is sure to get the toddler stoked about reading.”
Rewind to prep for Christmas 2016.
I started buying these books in October. That should have been plenty of time to budget, right? After all, how expensive could kids books be RIGHT?
I was in for a rude awakening. My cute idea, to which I was now fully committed, was costing me an arm and leg. Have you seen how much Little Golden Books are now????
I thought, “let’s check out the used book stores and local haunts.” I got better deals there, but still, this adventure was adding up.
After all was said and done, the book a day till Christmas was a huge hit. AND VERY EXPENSIVE. I made a pledge to myself. Next year, I’m doing this on the cheap. I’m throwing a Book Swap Party.
What is a Book Swap Party, you ask?
Well, most of my friends love to have their children read as much as I do. They all have books that their kids have tired of and are taking up room. And, who doesn’t love a good purge? Get rid of those old books and make room on the shelf for more! I’ve learned that as long as something is new to me, it’s new. Period. Same thing for the toddler.
It’s a pretty simple concept:
Invite your friends to come and have a few snacks/cocktails.
Tell them to bring their kids and their old books that they’re ready to part with.
Ask everyone to only take the number of books that they brought.
Throw the kids outside to play and drink wine/eggnog (it is Christmas after all!)
Voila! I was able to switch out 20 of the toddler’s old books for new. For this Christmas season, I only need to purchase 5 more books to make my 25!
On top of that, we had a great time letting the kids play and having some mom hang time. I also had 2 sweet friends who just wanted to donate books to the cause. Reading with their children was so important to them and now that their kids are teenagers, they didn’t need to take any books!
The most exciting thing was that we had 70 books left over! I had a few ideas on what to do with the left overs, and then one of my lovely social work friends suggested donating them to the Child Protection Visitation Center so that parents would have something bonding to do with their children during visitation. It was a beautiful way that we not only benefitted each other, but our community as well.
It is safe to say that I’ll be throwing a book swap party every year. I love the idea that just because we are done with something doesn’t mean that the book or the toy doesn’t still have a little more life in it. It is recycling in its most joyful version! I hope that whomever got the books that I donated knows just how much joy reading has brought to us and enjoys those stories with their child. Reading is definitely something to always pass on!