Traditions - The Advent Calendar
Stemming from Lutheran traditions in the late 19th century, we have the Christmas tradition of the Advent Calendar. Originally made of wood the structures, small or large, had either 24 or 25 doors to count down the days of December, one at a time, until either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. In times past, small homemade candies, toys, and treats were behind each door and aided in building children's excitement for the approaching Christmas celebration.
While Advent, itself, is a religious event with depth and meaning in both the Catholic and Lutheran churches, the Advent calendar is secular in common usage. And, like most holiday traditions, it suffers (in a light-hearted way) from commercialization.
In today's market you can find Advent calendars in any medium, from greeting cards with small doors hiding simple holiday greetings behind them, to those with true Christmas spirits hiding within. There are, in no order, Advent calendars hiding behind their doors, chocolate, charms for bracelets, small toys, Harry Potter memorabilia, a complete Playmobil holiday baking scene, Barbies, and Legos.
For the more mature celebrant there are more adult versions featuring, manicure accessories, twenty-four jerky flavors, beauty lotions and creams, Harry Potter Lego figurines, Holiday socks, crocheted ornaments, and Godiva chocolates. Without a doubt, I'm sure that any conceivable niche will have its own Advent calendar with 24 surprises awaiting.
Price point or theme are no issue. My brief scan found a $500 calendar with jewelry items, a $275 couples sex toy calendar, and a $200 New Yorker magazine calendar with 24 small jigsaw puzzles: one for each day. There are advent calendars with 24 different dog treats, 24 cans of cat food, a sampler of French preserves, geo crystals, and even one with 24 small bottles of whiskey. Now, that's the Christmas spirit.
So, no matter what your particular way of celebrating the holiday, I recommend that you search out the Advent calendar that best suits you or the intended recipient of your gift, young or old, glittering or tasty, whimsical or serious, paper or plastic, boozy or teetotal. It matters not.
Which bring me to the advent calendar that's been a gift from our daughter and her husband for the last two years, an advent calendar of European beers; one bottle or can for each day. Behind today's, Dec 1, door number one is a Festbier from, purportedly, the world's oldest brewery. The set ends with a Christmas ale on Christmas Eve. This case of holiday cheer is assembled by the Bier Garden in Portsmouth, VA and comes in three varieties, European beer, domestic beer, and wine.
So tonight, Linda and I will open door number one and officially get into the Christmas spirit(s).
Joyeux Noel, all
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