Monday, December 17, 2012
Continuing on with the Christmas theme, I was shocked when I brought out my advent calendar to find that S had never had one. I guess they weren't quite a common when we were children but we always had them and to this day my Mum buys them for my little cousins.
If, like S, you are not familiar with the advent calendar concept, it is a calendar that counts down from the first of December to the 24th. Traditionally they are a sort of cardboard picture with little perforated doors you open each day. The doors are numbered, so each morning you would find the number that corresponded with the date and open that door to see what was behind. When we were small there was a different picture behind each door but when I was about 7 or 8 they started coming with a little chocolate behind each door. The chocolate itself was awful compound chocolate that was often slightly smushed as it must have been melted in transport, but it was ours, we didn't have to share, and there was a new one every day. It was very exciting. I remember hearing that other children would open all the doors and eat all the chocolate straight away. I was shocked, that is not how they work, did those children not understand. I really thank my Mum for instilling that sense of occassion in me. Even now if I get birthday or Christmas presents early I like to wait and open them only on the appropriate day.
My sister and I were super spoiled however, as not only did we receive the normal commercial type advent calendar, we got a home made one from our Oma (Grandmother) each year. These consisted of a long piece of ribbon with a little present tied to it for each day - although I don't think she did the full 24. They were tiny presents, things like a new eraser, hair accessory or a single chocolate. To make things fair we would have the same presents on each of our strings so we took it in turns to pick the shape of the present to open - otherwise you knew what half your presents were before you had opened them.
The advent calendar tradition petered out when we were in early high school I think. Oma had become too old and frail to go buying all the little gifts and we had become too grown up to have the cardboard type. Then a few years ago, Mum resurrected it by giving me and my sister the most gorgeous wooden advent calendars. Behind each door is a tiny ornament that you hang on the "tree" that makes up the body of the calendar. It is one of my favourite Christmas decorations and each evening I call S over and we open a door to see what is behind it. He says he joins in because of how much joy it gives me - but I think he enjoys it too.
Did you have advent calendars as a child? And were you the type to open the doors in advance to get the chocolate or did you wait for each day like me?