I’m not a very religious person but Christmas was a very important holiday for me growing up. My mother had been raised in the Church of England, but it wasn’t something that she had passed down to her children. She instead celebrated the pageantry of Christmas, the fantasy of it all. Sure, we had a nativity scene in the house, but Christmas was as much about Jesus as it was about Rudolph. We never went to church, but we had a tree and stockings and decorations and all of the pagan trappings of the holiday.
I don’t think I discovered Advent calendars until I started going to Catholic school, though. And I was instantly captured by them. I didn’t even know there was an Advent then, but I, like many other children, knew the joy of counting down toward the holiday. That this was codified somehow, and that there was some kind of surprise and mystery to be unveiled every day, was what I think I enjoyed most.
I think the earliest advent calendars I had just had a little printed picture behind the little perforated paper door. The pictures were probably religious, too. But it didn’t matter. It was yet another ritual of the season. Each day I looked forward to opening another door. What would be behind it? A star? A snowman? An angel? That was enough.
As I got older, I became aware of other advent calendars, the most common, it seems, having chocolate behind each of the doors. I enjoyed these, of course, but as my tastes changed, the chocolate no longer seemed to cut it. *
Last year, N bought us both advent calendars, reawakening my interest in the ritual. This year, I thought, I would seek out a truly great advent calendar and things would be grand. Only, well, I had a hard time finding one. I was excited discovering that Lego had one, but it turned out one was a Star Wars one (with characters from the prequels) and the other was an Xmas town scene, which I would have once loved, but which didn’t do much for me now. I looked all over and couldn’t find anything that didn’t seem lacking.
So, yesterday, as November ended, I decided to create my own Advent Calendar. Not one that was physical but something online. What I was ultimately looking for was something that each day would have a fun fact, or an inspirational message (though not in the cheesy way). Something intangible, but that would be a fun discovery for each day leading up to Christmas. I couldn’t find one, so I’m doing it myself.
I will endeavor, on this blog, to post, each say something like I mentioned above, below a cut, which hopefully will recreate the activity of opening one of the doors. I don’t know if anyone else will read these, but I’m doing it for myself. Anything more than that is a bonus.
If you find it interesting, though, please let me know.
* By changing tastes, I mean that I’ve become something of a chocolate snob. I find low quality chocolate isn’t really worth eating. Also, I only eat dark chocolate.