Blog 9: Advent Calendars!
I always loved Advent calendars, especially ones that included candy! It was like getting a present every day until the big event. You have to remember . . . I am OLD! I was born in another time. When Sears and J.C. Penney put out their catalogues that had a huge toy section that I and other kids my age perused throughout November to write that beloved letter to Santa Clause. By the time my children came along, it was sacrilegious to waste trees on catalogues and much easier to copy and paste pictures along with prices of the exact toy that they wanted from the Internet. Of course they were at a disadvantage, Amazon Prime hadn’t been thought of yet, but I digress. Where, why and how did these calendars come about?
For anyone not familiar with Advent calendars, they are used to count down the days until Christmas starting on December 1stand ending on the 24th. Like the Christmas Tree, German Lutherans devised the first calendars to coincide with the liturgical Christmas season and can start in November depending on the year but normally, those found in stores have twenty four windows to open. They come in a multitude of forms, from a simple paper calendar, to the aforementioned hidden chocolate, fabric pockets filled with small toys, wooden drawers with hidden treasures, or a multitude of styles. My boys’ favorite was the Lego™ Star Wars version that had an entire scene by the time Christmas arrived.
Not always a physical item, some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have a count down television show that began as a radio show. In keeping with the times, social media even has 24 ideas for Web Designs. As in Christmas Story, the main idea is to count down the days to the BIG DAY in anyway you see fit.
Now, my Grinch Calendaris more or less a traditional Advent Calendar. It has the 24 lettered balls that magically turn into 24 ornaments the closer one gets to Christmas. Reminded the Dr. Seuss was in fact Jewish gives special meaning to this particular holiday countdown. This way, the calendar emphasizes the countdown to a time of family gathering and togetherness with less focus on gift giving. Making this the perfect holiday tradition.
My other Advent calendar really isn’t a calendar but a tree. It grew out of the necessity
to decorate a dorm room. I thought 24 buttons would be a nice number to keep in with
the advent theme. So here is a chance for children; college student; hospitalized patient; holiday cruisers; nursing homers; or small apartment dwellers to enjoy the season. Put up all your favorite ornaments all at once or one every day until your holiday commences. It is your tree to decorate and celebrate as you please.
As you can see, I needed a much bigger tree. This quilt is English Paper Piecing and as far as I am concerned a one of a kind. I keep it up all year long and change out the “ornaments,” more like mementos of things I have done this past year since they are key chains and other baubles I find during my travels. The limited amount of hanging space on the tree forces me to regularly switch out the decorations from year to year, providing a fresh new look and recalling fond memories. It makes me happy and as an added bonus, it hangs in my bedroom so normally I don’t have to explain to people why I have a tree up year round.
While doing my research I did find out of few more things to tell you before I go:
Dwight D. Eisenhoweris often credited for the popularity of the Advent calendar in the U.S.
The most expensive calendar was found at Harrods in 2007. For a mere $50,000 a four-foot tree shaped structure was carved from elm and walnut. This makes mine look like a bargain!
The largest calendar transformed King’s Square in England into an interactive calendar with 24 windows depicting business specials until Christmas. That’s creative advertising.
The Obamas’ have 25 windows with caricatures of John Edwards, Jesse Jackson, Bill Ayers and others behind each window. Can you guess who was behind the 25th?
Space the final frontier gives us the Hubble Space Telescope sending 24 pictures via blog back for the big countdown.
Remember: So whatever the reason is, it is fun to have a count down and make it your own.