Posted by: whimsigal | December 7, 2008

Gearing up for the holidays

It has begun. The long-awaited countdown to Christmas, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever holiday you honor at this time of year. We are a secular household but still love a few time-honored traditions. One of them for me is the advent calendar. Its origins can be traced back to 19th century Germany, although my first run-in with one happened in the late 1970’s. A pair of sisters that my friends and I were friends with got them every year from their father who lived in upstate New York. Living in the South, I don’t remember ever seeing such things and they seemed incredibly exotic to my sister and I. These were the days before the internet so it wasn’t like our parents could have just googled “chocolate advent calendar” and come up with a bazillion places to order these delectable works of art. With my eyes glowing with jealousy, I would stare at my friend as she oh so carefully pried open the door on her calendar each day and waited to see what Christmasey image was molded onto the tiny chocolate inside the window. It left such an impression on me! It’s funny because as children, my sister and I didn’t want for much. Our parents spoiled us fairly well but this one thing eluded me every year until I was too old to receive one. Then, I had children of my own and came across a calendar at the grocery store one day. And a new tradition was born.
ryan advent

Every day the boys get up and eagerly look for the day’s date on the calendar, nearly ripping the little tab off of it in their zeal to get to the chocolate waiting for them inside. It brings me such joy to see them heads together, trying to help one another find the right flap to open, and then reveling in the sweet taste of Christmas that they find each day. While I still would love an advent calendar of my own one year, I am incredibly content to see them enjoying this simple thing and hope that it is a memory that they, too, will cherish when they have long since left home. Perhaps they will provide them for their children as well and who knows? Maybe they’ll even get one for dear old mom. 🙂



  1. Growing up we had a small felt wall hanging (I guess you would call it) of a Christmas tree. Underneath the tree were numbers 1 – 24 with a small ornament safety pinned. Each morning we would take the ornament off the number and pinned it on the tree. On the 24th, there was a place in the base of the tree to put Baby Jesus. My brother and I would take odd or even days but fight if better ornaments were on the days we didn’t have. To be fair about the 24th, we put Baby Jesus in the tree together.
    Of course if you read my latest post, I’ve done nothing about Christmas. As far as religion, I guess our house is a mix. My husband is definitely a Christian as my daughter. I’m questioning a lot of things which has rubbed off on my son.

  2. Hi mate,

    my kids have adored Advent calanders over the years too. My mother ended up making them a fabric one a few years back, and even though they are now nearly 16 & 18 respectively, I’ve already been told that they are expected it filled with treats for when they get home from Germany & Australia within the next week 🙂

    Live it up – go get one for yourself too

  3. “expecting”


  4. We always had the chocolate ones too.
    Even though we have a fancy one now, I bought Trev and Maddie chocolate ones at the market.
    But they ate them all that day.
    (which is why I only put something in each day, and not ahead of time!) 🙂

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