Thursday, December 4, 2014


Sample advent calendar, W. Germany

My mother loved advent calendars – the kind made of paper where you open the “windows” to reveal the line of a story or a little picture. During my years at home, we bought a new one every year, and after Christmas Mother carefully closed the little windows and tucked the calendar away in a box with all the others. My dad quietly disapproved. He thought the same calendar should be re-used year after year and the dollar saved. (That’s what they cost -- $1.00 each.) 

Note advent calendar on mantel
It wasn’t so much the calendar that was important. It was the fun of watching for the calendars to appear in the store and then making a selection. It was a part of our holiday “getting ready” tradition and we enjoyed sharing that. At home, the calendar was placed on the mantel to wait until December First. Then, as we moved through the advent season, before I went to school in the morning, Mother and I would search for the appropriately numbered window and open it. Sometimes it wasn’t easy to find.

You know, there are some things you can do when you have only one child that just don’t work with a larger family. The advent calendar tradition with my mother was probably one of those things. In fact, I didn’t buy advent calendars for my three children. Instead, I made one from a kit and tied little candy canes on the rings – one per child per day from December 1 through December 24. I don’t know how interested they were really. I’m not sure they knew or cared that it was a countdown. In fact, eventually one kid confessed that he hated peppermint, so I switched to fruit-flavored canes. At any rate, it just wasn’t the same special event as that I shared one-on-one with my mother. Times change.

Perhaps this is "the point south of home" to which Lafe refers.

Friday, Dec. 4, 1896 – On this date at Gilbert:
Clear and bright most of the day. Also quite warm. Wind SE. Worked on the stable. Cut out the door. The point south of home bare of snow.
 ~ M. L. Dickson ~


Kathy said...

My eldest sister Harriet was also raisin her family as I was growing up. Here's what she had to say about advent calendars:
I am always interested in what your blog has to say. I always purchased (or sometimes Mother purchased for me) one advent calendar and started the tradition with my two oldest. We always gathered round each day. By the time Rachel came, L.J. was losing interest in the “game.” One year I got a calendar for each one, but found out it wasn’t better than just the one. I think I enjoyed the advent calendars as much or more than they did.

And I think that was true of Mother as well -- she enjoyed the advent calendar as much as I did.

Hallie said...

Maybe it was me who didn't like peppermint (because I don't like peppermint). We started doing Hershey kisses and I would tape the 3 little papers from the top together and tie them to the calendar with ribbon. Yummy chocolate!

Kathy said...

I had forgotten about the Hershey's kisses. I think everyone was happier with a kiss than a candy cane. You did a good job of attaching them.