scoring: Advent calendars

With precious few days left before December 1st, it’s time to get your Advent calendars people – this month’s better-late-than-never ‘Saturday Score’.

So do you have one yet? Or are you scratching your head wondering what in the world I’m on about with all of this ‘Advent’ business?

In a nutshell, Advent is the Christmas season. Specifically, the four weeks prior to December 25th. Traditionally, it begins on Advent Sunday (apt nomenclature, non?) which is the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day. Typically, it is celebrated from December 1st through the Christmas Day on the 25th. The etymology of the word ‘advent’ is Latin from adventus, which is the 4th principal part of the verb advenire, meaning ‘to arrive’ or ‘arrival’. (Did I mention that I studied/taught Latin?) So literally, Advent celebrates the arrival of something, and in this case Christ. Here endth the lesson.

Moving on to the Advent calendars themselves. Since the whole idea is to count-down the days until Christmas, the calendars can take many forms – from traditional to traditional with a twist to digital:

We’ve used the ‘traditional with a twist’ for several years now and love it. It’s from Willowcreek Signs on Etsy and is shown as wall decor but we put it on the outside of a glass door. It holds up to the elements well, and since it’s outside, our neighborhood shares in the countdown too.

Lots of us grew up with one of these types of calendars. But I have friends who’ve taken it a step further, opting to celebrate the season with daily ‘gifts’. They decorate boxes and fill them with treats – candy, toys, games, &c – to be opened each day. If you’re going that route, your choices for calendar become a bit more cumbersome; these types can’t be hung unobtrusively on the ‘fridge. I spotted this one in the Pottery Barn catalog:


Don’t like the ‘rustic’ look? Those baskets – and indeed the entire frame – could be sprayed to match your decor. Or gilded, as all good things are. Need more options and more ideas? Of course you do, so here they are:

‘The Advent Book’ / The Met’s ‘William Morris’ / ‘Printed Pouches’ terrain / ‘1-24′ candles (similar to shown) / Matthew Rice for EB / ‘Elf’ mail / Advent letters / Lego

As a book-hog, I love the idea of an annual book to pull-out and read each night; ‘The Advent Book’ fits the bill wonderfully. It’s been a tradition in our house since 2000 and every year there’s an argument about who gets even days and who gets odd. An unexpected joy of the season. The Garnet Hill ‘busy beads’ tree is a unique option, and one we acquired a couple of years ago. Of course, it’s not available anymore, but such is the way of things. And apologies as I couldn’t even find a decent replacement option. Perhaps you could go with a monogrammed cloth Christmas tree + ornaments calendar; we have one of those as well. It was a lovely ‘first Christmas’ gift from one of my brothers and his family.

And for those of you wanting more than the calendar but eschewing daily gifts, large or small, I want to give a special shoutout for the Advent letters. These little gems are DIY and can cost nothing more than your creativity. Make a list (and check it twice) of ‘to-dos’ for your family and friends and celebrate one daily. Fill the list with events to attend – like seeing the Nutcracker, get togethers – like a massive cookie-baking day, and songs – every time someone comes in from the cold they have to sing ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ (see ‘Elf’ for an excellent rendition).

Inspired by this month’s ‘Saturday score’? I am! And since December is almost upon us, check back soon for a special Christmas score.


What do you think?