1st december: advent

For me Christmas is a time steeped in traditions and over the next 24 days I will be blogging once a day to share my old traditions and ideas for new ones with you. Posts will range from patterns, reviews, gift ideas, food, baking and other tidbits all with a festive theme, plus there will be a sprinkling of stocking filler giveaways from some exceptionally talented people in the yarn community.

Every year since I was born, my Mum has gifted me a very traditional advent calendar featuring the nativity scene, with a strictly no chocolate theme, and it is one of the family Christmas traditions that we have continued year after year.

This is my calendar for 2012 which is fairly standard but strange in that Mary and Joseph are nowhere to be seen. Compare this to last years calendar which stuck so closely to the Christmas story that Emperor Augustus (the taxman) made appearances behind a door along with the innkeeper and his ‘whatever’ gesture!

Last year on Twitter a few of us shared our daily opening of the advent calendar doors so we could all have a look and see what we’d got. We are repeating this again for 2012 so if you have a traditional calendar, as opposed to one of those new-fangled ones, then do feel free to join in. Simply take a picture and upload it to Twitter using the hashtag: #traditionaladventcalendar and you will find a group of us all doing the same!

Earlier in the week Lucy (pollianicus) was talking about the Advent calendar gifted by her Mum and it sounded so wonderful that I asked if she’d share it with us all…

“When I was growing up my brothers and I did not have chocolate advent calendars.  Oh no.  Being the daughter of a keen embroiderer we had a homemade advent calendar with a  cross-stitch design of Santa and his helpers with a sledge and reindeer.  Every day we would untie a small parcel of sweets from the right ring and share them out and then tie a bell on.

My first December away from home, as a student, I received a parcel from my Mother, my very own advent calendar and a set of ribboned bells.  I was thrilled and every year since then the advent calendar makes it’s appearance.  It has come with me through many house moves and now my children love it too.  Every day in December they get to tie on a bell and on Christmas Day someone ties on the bell for Christmas Day.  My second son has a birthday on 21st December so naturally he always gets to do his birthday, apart from that they just take it in turns.

I love my advent calendar.  To me it carries on the tradition started in my childhood and has much more meaning than a cardboard calendar with cheap chocolate in it.  I must get the design from my mum and will have three to make when my children leave home.”

Isn’t it beautiful and such a lovely idea. Thank you so much Lucy for sharing it with us!

Another fan of the traditional advent calendar is another Lucy (rosealare)

“Today I’ll be opening the first door of what must be my thirtieth advent calendar (I’m not sure about my baby and toddler years, but it’s a pretty safe bet there was an advent calendar in the house even then). This year’s is a traditional German model as always, called Vor Dem Himmelstor (before the heavenly gates), ordered by my father, way back in July or August. It joins many other German calendars, guaranteed to show a traditional advent and Christmas theme, with the Christ Child in the manger behind the last set of double doors. No chocolate pieces, no cartoon characters, just traditional pictures of old fashioned toys, cherubs, stars and candles. We aren’t particularly religious, nor especially hidebound by tradition, but at this one time of year, it seems right to go for the good old fashioned advent calendar, and contemplate for a short time each day, the true meaning of Christmas, and family.”

Lucy’s advent calendar is available from Korsch Verlag who have the most beautiful range of calendars and thank you Lucy for sharing your story with us…I know how excited you get about your annual calendar!

Although the next 24 days will mainly be focusing on Christmas I plan to include celebratory ideas for all and hope you can join in and share your old and new Holiday and Festival traditions along the way. If you have any family traditions for Advent, Christmas or the holidays please do get in touch as I’d love to hear them. You can leave a comment on the blog or email me: rachelatkinson at yahoo dot com


  1. says

    I am a fully signed up member of the traditional advent calendar brigade. I loathe chocolate calendars, no effort whatsoever put into the pictures behind the shiny plastic. My father-in-law, who is a vicar, has taken it upon himself to gift calendars to my three children each year as an advent tradition, always with a traditional theme but also with a biblical verse inside the doors. My daughter’s one even has glitter.

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