While this is a Christian term for the season leading up to Christmas and the birth of Christ, for kids there’s excitement too – of a different kind. As early as November, children of all ages start behaving better in the interests of getting goodies from Santa. It’s a tough slog towing the line for that many days. No wonder some smart advertising company, back in the 70’s, began taking advantage of the calendar idea to sell things.

The first time I remember buying an Advent calendar was when my own kids were little. It was a cardboard box, about the size of a fat colouring book. There were 24 little compartments, which could be poked into, and inside there would be a piece of chocolate, stamped with a Santa face, or a star, or an ornament. Early on the morning of December 1st the kids would grab their calendars, gulp down the chocolate in one bite, and exclaim: “Only 23 more days to behave!”

A few years ago a new kind of calendar emerged; online. My niece Amy, living in BC, sent me one. It was 24 days of little online surprises: a special Christmas scene drawn before my eyes, a recipe for a holiday treat, a story read with background Christmas music. What a Great idea! I watched, thinking of Amy and her new life out west, for 24 days.

Then Amy’s dad got into the game. In Port Dover my brother and his partner joined a group of 24 neighbours who get together yearly to create what is known as a living advent calendar. Every evening one of the 24 families reveals their decorated front window, to a chorus of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” from the visitors waiting outside. Then the hosts serve a holiday treat: like hot chocolate. This year the stakes are higher – whiskey shooters – and the crowds are merrier too.

In November a friend gave Peter and me an eating kind of calendar: 24 days of cheese! Every evening before dinner we pour ourselves a glass of wine and try to remember what day it is. Then we frantically search for the correctly numbered little door and open it to cheddar, smoked, Mexicana, or Leichester. Yummy.

Our Cheese Calendar on Day 13

Recently I did a little research to see what else is available. For kids, the tiny chocolate bits have been replaced by Lego figures, or fake gemstones from National geographic. For women there are little samples of beauty products, or herbal teas or, for that really special woman in your life; a Swarovski calendar with miniature crystal figures, for only $1,000!

Men are not off the hook. For them you can purchase an advent sock calendar, But note that there are only 12 pairs of socks in this calendar. Does that mean that they can only change one sock per day? Or that they change both socks every 2 days, which is just about average for some men I know, not mentioning any names?

This advent calendar shopping is not without its challenges. And so I offer you some words of caution:

The Proseco calendar: too big for your fridge!

The Love Calendar with the warning: “Not safe for work.” well duh….

The Lidi Chocolate calendar: “May contain salmonella,” Buy this for your nasty neighbour.

And finally, I am not making this up, the COSTCO Dog Delights Advent calendar – sold out!

Happy Advent


Photo taken from COSTCO website

4 thoughts on “Advent

  1. I had my students make ornaments representing readings for each day of advent and after they completed the reading for their day they hang an ornament on the Jesse Wreath we have in the class. Starting in the Old Testament in Genesis all the way the the nativity. After all, thats what Advent is about. Jesse trees are the point behind Christmas trees and ornaments are supposed to represent us marking down the days to the birth. Everything comes from something.


  2. Sue Your creation “Seventy in the City” is my favourite Advent calendar ever. Every Tuesday I get to open a new door and find a gem inside. Thank you Gary


  3. Hi Susan, I was brought up with the Advent calendar and have seen many interesting ones; but just 4 years ago I received a very different Advent calendar from a friend in Germany. It is a thin book with 24 pages. The cover page has the 24 “windows”. The book is a short story, but not written in order. When you open window #1 it tells you what page to read e.g. “12”. So page 12 is the beginning of the story, then the next day you open window #2 and it directs you to read e.g page 5. This way it takes you 24 days to read the book not knowing on what page the continuation will be the next day. I loved it and enjoyed the story.


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