Advent has a firm place in my heart, I love the time leading up to christmas, with years of memories behind me of childhoods spent lighting candles upon our advent wreath each day in December, and the delight taken in our tradition of the paper advent calendar and Sunday advent gifts. That’s my advent, though there are many ways in which to enjoy this special time beyond the chocolate calendar. I wanted to share them with you; ways that make the experience not only richer, but those that can shared among the family to treasure.
In my household we create an advent calendar for my kids, unlocking a daily suprise each day. We wrap them in simple paper bags and hang from a branch. My kids get an Ostheimer animal every Sunday and craft materials or little treats such as raisins the other days. Also perfect suggestions include small but gorgeous elements: flower fairies, little wooden animals, toys, and even handmade treats from the kitchen. A nice idea is to gift things that can build up into a greater collection - a woodland scene for example, or breaking a Grapat set up would make a perfect toddler advent calendar.
A lovely way to enjoy adent time and time again is through books cherished within the family. The book advent idea is to invest in 24 different books, wrapping each individually. I suggest saving the paper or using fabric to wrap them. Each evening, a book is unwrapped and read out loud. We’re not suggesting 24 new books each year though! The sentiment is that those same 24 books are wrapped each year, becoming firm family favourites - to be read in the winter before they are packed away again. Each tale heard differently as the children grow. As a child, we loved tales from Elsa Beskowa and Sibylle Von Olfers.
Photo of Book Advent courtesy of @veronikagphotopraphy
Another way to bring the shared spirit to advent is to hand write or wrap ideas for 24 activities that can be experienced together: going for a winter walk in the woods, baking biscuits, playing games or creating a puppet show, to name a few. Do you have any others? We’d love to hear them.
Of course there is always the classic simple card Advent Calendar - the simple special moment at the beginning of each day - opening the window and seeing what's inside.