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Advent calendars. November 28, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Today is the first day of Advent, so of course our friend Ben and I got out our Advent calendar. It’s the first stage of our Christmas celebration, and one of our favorite traditions. Opening that first window makes us feel the Christmas season has really arrived!

For those who don’t know Advent calendars, they typically show every day from the first Sunday of Advent through Christmas Eve. Behind the door or window for each day is a surprise, so you open one each day until Christmas. Talk about building up anticipation!

Most Advent calendars are printed on heavy stock, and their windows open on illustrations or Bible verses. But we’ve seen wooden Advent calendars whose doors hide handmade Christmas ornaments, and Advent calendars made of felt with infants’ soft toys behind each door. Some Advent calendars let you hide your own choice of treats, toys, and tiny scrolled verses behind the doors.

Ours is a Tasha Tudor Advent calendar book, Tasha Tudor’s Advent Calendar (Philomel Books, New York, 1988). We love it, first for the delightful illustrations by the beloved children’s book illustrator, featuring all the animals her observation and imagination could provide, and second because the book format protects the calendar, which has the traditional windows that you open to reveal, in this case, animals in their Christmas finery. Like any good Advent calendar, part of the fun is finding each day’s window, hidden as they are in a lively scene of Christmas frolicking in Ms. Tudor’s beloved Corgiville. (Tasha Tudor fans, you can get your own Tasha Advent calendars at www.tashatudorandfamily.com.)

This year, we were fortunate enough to find two delightful tiny Advent calendars for OFB’s niece and nephew. Made in Germany, the cunning little calendars were no bigger than postcards, but still had windows that opened for each day, revealing surprises behind the scenes of Santa with his elk-drawn sleigh, surrounded by creatures from the woods, and Santa in an Old World village, lit like a scene from Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. So much fun! It was hard to resist picking up another for ourselves.

We think the Advent calendar is a tradition worth reviving, if it’s not already a Christmastime classic in your home. It’s a delightful, innocent way to count down the days ’til Christmas in a sweet or spiritual rather than consumerist manner, reminding us each day of the “reason for the Season.”

             ‘Til next time,

                         Silence

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Comments»

1. Karin/Southern Meadows - November 29, 2010

Raised by a German mother I have celebrated advent my entire life and I have passed the tradition on to my children. We have an advent calendar which my mother made from felt. It is a tree and in each pocket numbering the days until Christmas eve there is an ornament which is taken out and hung. It is a wonderful tradition. Happy Advent!

Thanks, Karin! What a lovely tradition!

2. h.ibrahim - November 29, 2010

Yes the Germans give advent calenders to kids with lovely chocolate treats for every day—morning actually. Each family makes it with their child/children. I still remember Jenni Hart waking up to a large chunk of german chocolate every morning—before breakfast!–i saw with horror but not at that time since this is pre Rashu and Sasha.

Chocolate for breakfast sounds like a good plan!


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