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Opening the first door

As far back as my memory reaches, there has been a nice Advent Calendar to make the wait before Christmas more bearable. When I was very young, my grandmother was the person who filled up the little bags of the handcrafted advent calendar, that had been used by her children in the past. We still make use of that very Advent Calendar today.

Normally I would excitedly open the first bag, the one with the 1 written on it with golden paint to discover a sweet surprise. Most years I would receive sweets, with there being bulging bags for the 6th (Saint Nikolaus Day) and the 24th. I remember that one year I would receive pieces of a necklace that I would have to string up afterwards. I once received a little hand made doll asleep in a matchbox converted into a cozy bed, it was my Christkind (I’ll be sharing more on the Christkind on the 24th).

Eventually my mother took over the job of filling our Advent Calendar. One year, she innovated and hung up a lot of little packages in the entry of our apartment. There were not only sweets, no she had applied herself in such a way that at times there was a handwritten Christmas story, something that will be rather present in the three weeks to come on this blog, just not handwritten. I had a calendar with little pictures of bears and a story, a gift from my great grandmother. Opening the little stories, every day was filled with magic.

I remember the chocolate Advent Calendars you can buy in supermarkets, which are often given to kids. My best friend would actually split her chocolate with me when I was over to visit, and we were about 5 or 6 at the time. The content of most calendars did not matter, opening a new bag, a new door just meant we were coming closer to Christmas.

My mother even send me a handcrafted Advent Calendar to me when I was studying far from home. And I even made a calendar of just drawings for S. during our first advent, I gifted him with a new drawing every day.

There are also many books out there that are set up as an advent calendar, a chapter per day. They are so much fun for kids and for the adult who reads them. My sister and I would listen to the same book every year, it was a nice tradition to have.

So today, I want to welcome you my dear reader to a blog based Advent Calendar. There will be guest posts from various bloggers, sharing stories, memories, traditions… I hope that you’ll enjoy these 24 stories and that they’ll sweeten your wait for Christmas without being a danger to your teeth.

Do you have an Advent Calendar? Did you receive Advent Calendars as a Child? What is your fondest memory of Advent?


© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.

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32 thoughts on “Advent Calendar Day 1: Opening the first door

  1. We never had the tradition of the Advent Calendar as children. It was not until I was an adult that I saw others (at college) that would receive one from home. When my children were little, we used the chocolate filled ones for them and some years we made a Christmas chain that began on the first of December and had a paper link for each day. The kids got to rip off one link each day and they had the visual of the chain getting shorter and shorter as the days got fewer and fewer. Some years we had one chain for each of the kids so they could each tear off a link a day. Now we have them for my grandsons.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad that you adopted this tradition! It does sweeten a kid’s wait until Christmas (which in my memory felt like what a few months feel like today…). In my family the tradition has been around for a long time, not sure since when (probably quite some time especially with my German-Lutheran ancestors), but the advent calendar hanging in my living room was first used 1967.
      I hope your grandsons will enjoy their calendars!

      Like

  2. We bought our daughter an advent calendar every year up until she reached 34 and had her first child, now we have transferred the calendar to him and she is not happy as she feels she is missing out. So, I guess another calendar will have to be purchased to assuage my daughter!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What beautiful and varied advent calendars! Your whole family is so creative from your grandmother’s first handcrafted one, to the story advent one. How absolutely lovely and your post oozes with warmth and love. As for me, I have always had an advent calendar from my mother and still do – the one year she stopped as she thought I might feel silly I got so disappointed and she was so mortified she went to the shops and bought one. My son, although nearly 15, still has the one we made when he was little, it’s just about hanging together with lots of cellotape and I fill the boxes with chocolates and small surprises. It’s pictured on my last post!

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    1. The handcrafted one from my grandmother is now hanging in my living room, as my mother was so kind and filled all those little bags (for my daughter and us parents…), it dates from 1967.
      Getting the calendar is such an important thing, somehow we never really grow up, now do we?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay! This is so cool! I think that the idea of advent calendar with gifts, stories, and pictures is fantastic because it’s one more way to ring in the holiday season. ^.^ Sadly, we never had anything quite this cool at home. However, I do remember the store-bought advent calendar with candy. I loved opening those little doors for the tiny piece of chocolate, with an even tinier picture behind it. That was always fun.
    Can’t wait for all the awesome posts!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Well i had my daughter at 25, and my fiancé was actually 24 when she came along. But I am from a family where we have kids young, it seems hereditary at least for the first child.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I managed the master’s degree before my daughter arrived 🙂 I graduated September 2012 and she was born in February 2014, it is possible…
              You never know. Before I knew my fiancé I did not plan kids at all, and once we were together I started being ready really quickly, I waited ages.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Sweet, sweet idea for the Advent period, Solveig. I like it that you started with your own memory and with the Advent calendar. I never had one when I was growing up in France but always bought one (Trader Joe’s in the US offers them at a very good price) for my four children. My son is not a chocolate fan and often did offer his chocolate to someone else but he would never miss one day. It’s a sweet tradition that increases suspense and helps a child to be patient until the big day. See you tomorrow then!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, this is so sweet. We did paper chains when my kids were super little, (like Corina) but now it is all about the chocolate. We opened the little doors last night to much fanfare. Now I want to make one with real cloth bags like you have. I love the idea of having something to pass down year, after year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that you can find cloth bagged ones for sale (in Germany at least) or do them yourself. Ours is filled with sweets this year, but there have been years with other things inside. What is great with the cloth bag ones, if you fill them with sweets, you put a candy inside for each kid, no multiple calendars needed… My aunt does a calendar with paper bags, a bag per day, she’s got 3 kids, and has colour coded them, so every day it is a different kid who opens their bag, with a little age and interest appropriate present inside.

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  7. Hi Solveig,
    We had Advent calendars as kids but I’m pretty sure they just had pictures behind each window and they were decorated with Christmas pictures and lots of glitter. I think my grandparents sent them down.
    We now have Advent calendars with chocolate but it really isn’t a good idea where we live. Indeed, chocolate of any sort in December usually ends in a melted puddle tragedy.
    Yet, I on cooler days I’m venturing into the supernmarket to buy discounted boxes of Lindt which we eat ASAP. No point saving it.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can imagine chocolate being a very bad idea in Australian advent calendars, maybe where you are the traditional ones with only pictures would be the most suitable?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We had advent calendars when I was a kid, but there were only pictures behind each flap. As an adult when I learned that some advent calendars had chocolate in them, I felt like I’d been conned as a kid! I like your idea of using the calendar as a way to present your blog posts. Clever thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You just had the very traditional and original version of the advent calendar…
      I guess your parents were worried about your teeth, your sugar intake, or the often bad quality of chocolate that can be found in many calendars.
      I love the advent period, thus I took the initiative to transform my blog into a multi-contributor calendar. I do hope that you enjoy all of the other blog posts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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