With Thanksgiving almost upon us the calendar will soon turn to December, and with it one of my favorite winter traditions, Advent. I am always surprised at just how many people commemorate the tradition of Advent with a calendar. I also enjoy hearing about the vast range of styles that Advent calendars come in; from finely crafted, ornate wooden spectacles to cardboard cut outs with perforated doors containing chocolate morsels. In the end however, their purpose is the same.
This sends me back to what the Advent Calendar meant to me and my family. Every year at Thanksgiving my Grandparents would give me and my sisters an Advent calendar. We received the simple disposable kind with a nice holiday decoration upon a slim cardboard box with little doors that could be peeled back. My Grandmother was careful to get the calendars safely into the hands of our mother, because if the calendars were given to us directly, our personal tradition would start too early.
The tradition in my household was slightly different and unique to me and my two sisters. Not being blessed with an abundance of patience, we would wait until we were given our calendars on the first of December, and then promptly eat the 25 days worth of chocolate by December 2nd.
I remember one year when one of my younger sisters, the most disciplined and organized of the bunch, was determined to follow the tradition to the letter and eat a single chocolate each day. Her intention was noble, but one that did not make it past the first year, because me and my other sister stole all the chocolate and then carefully resealed all the doors. The ruse was up shortly the next day and the following year she decided not to break with our little tradition.
Remembering that tradition is why our Advent Tree is one of my favorite items in our holiday collection.
Shaped like a tree, it is bright and cheery and is versatile enough to house anything from sweets to little trinkets to personal notes. I also like the fact that it is reusable so you and your family can create your own unique and lasting traditions that will be cherished for years to come.