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Advent Calendars

November 17, 2012

One of my favorite parts of Christmas has always been the Advent Calendar. When I was a little girl we always had one of the German ones with the German village covered with glittery snow.  While we got a new calendar each year they were similar and the 24th was always a picture of the nativity.

I was a young mother when I became aware of the Scandinavian advent calendars with their little rings to tie presents to. I made my own cross stitch version and each year I tied small presents wrapped in red and green tissue paper and tied with contrasting ribbons. I alternated red ribbons with green and my daughters took turns opening the small gifts.  There were always 4 candy canes each and other small stocking stuffer like gifts. The 24th was always a nativity ornament for the family ( so of course we have quite a collection of those).

When my oldest daughter went to college, I began attaching small numbers to the wrapped presents and sent them off to her. I sent a box to my niece at boarding school too and she said that they made getting up on those dark December days much easier. Both reported that everyone in their dorms got excited to see what they had gotten each day.

ImageI have continued to wrap the little presents for my daughters even though they are grown now but my oldest daughter mentioned a few years ago that the fact that you were supposed to open a present each day was more stressful than fun for her so I came up with a new idea for her – a stress free secular advent calendar! She doesn’t have to open one each day – there are four bags with 4 – 5 wrapped presents in each bag. Stapled to the first bag is “You better watch out”, to the second bag “You better not cry” to the third “You better not pout, I’m telling you why” and to the fourth one, of course, “Santa Claus is coming to town.” I still imagined that she would open one gift a day so I was shocked when she said she had opened all the gifts in one bag on the same day. “Hey”, she said, “I thought the whole point of this new way was that there were no rules.” No rules but still a tradition that works for her!

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