The first of December is the start of the Advent season and at our house the bringing forth of the annual advent calendar. Advent means “coming”. The idea is simple: Count down the days in December leading up to Christmas Eve. Advent Calendars come from Germany where Christians marked doors with chalk and later created special calendars to count the days to Christmas.
When I was little, we had two Advent Calendars, one for me and one for my older sister. They were simple cardboard with pictures covered by little flaps. Each flap had a number, 1 to 25, marking the days until Christmas. My mother kept the same two calendars for many years and just switched them up. I’m not sure if that was because she was thrifty or because we needed to save the money. As a kid I always felt we had plenty of funds, but maybe not. My dad was a small businessman, selling ladies shoes in a small Wyoming town. While we lived comfortably, we certainly weren’t wealthy. Really, the repeat calendars were great because they served the purpose of starting holiday festivities early.
Nowadays, I get new calendars for my kids and my husband from Trader Joe’s. They are less than $2, filled with little pieces of chocolate and help mark the season and remind my family that I am the keeper of the family traditions. My husband eats all of the little candies at once. My son misplaces the calendar, remembers the calendar half way into January and gets a late Christmas treat. My daughter who is fastidious opens each box on the appropriate day and has 25 days of Christmas treats.
The variety of calendars is fascinating. There are basic picture calendars like I grew up with, legos, Hershey Kisses, beauty boxes, and varieties of tea. For those who want to celebrate the Yule Tide season daily, there are calendars with little bottles of whisky, wine and beer. For families who want to build a regular advent tradition there are expensive wooden calendars and hand sewn varieties which can be displayed prominently and refilled with treats and surprises every year.
If you don’t have an advent calendar by now it’s probably a little late to find one. But I would recommend putting on your shopping list for October/early November 2020. You can vote for President and then buy a calendar to hopefully celebrate ushering in a new administration.