It’s like meeting old friends. After the boxes have been hauled from the loft and I start sifting through the ornaments, I exclaim with joy as favourites come to light. A few are handmade by me, such as ceramic pine lamps and a jolly snowman sporting a top hat with vintage tinsel and holly band, so they are extra special.

The Advent calendar has been on the kitchen wall and waiting for our home to be decked out for the festive season. I prefer it to be displayed on its own for a while.

This year’s one comes from the National Trust and is woodland-themed with a coordinated nature or animal illustration behind each of the daily flaps. No chocolate or other novelties for me. I favour the old-fashioned sort, similar to those from my childhood, but without the glitter, which I loved. However, I never realised how damaging the pretty sparkly particles were to the environment, but so pleased to be better informed these days.

The first commercially produced ones weren’t embellished with it, as glitter wasn’t around until the 1930s and the innovative calendars were an idea that spread from Germany before this time. The wonderful invention evolved from when families drew chalk lines from the beginning of December through to Christmas Eve. Long before then, Advent was thought to have been initially honoured by monks over 500 years ago.

Nowadays, it is commemorated in different ways across the world, including candles in many European countries and colourful paper lanterns in China.

The biggest calendar I’ve ever seen was at a primary school where I worked. A classroom noticeboard incorporating a painting from every child in the class and concealed randomly behind numbered sheets of paper was a delight. The infants’ faces lit up when one was uncovered every day, and even more so if it was their work of art showing.

I can’t believe we are halfway through opening all the doors; a joyful reminder that Christmas Day isn’t far away.

Now all the decorations adorn every niche in our bungalow, and the tree is looking spangled and glorious – doesn’t everyone’s?

Wishing you peace and happiness,
Sue. X

PS. You might also like to read a blog post from two years ago on a similar theme.