In one weeks time it will be the start of Advent, December 1st, the count down to Christmas.
Children everywhere will be getting giddy with excitement as they wait for the arrival of Santa Claus, singing carols in school, dressing up for the school performance, mums and dads will be bustling around desperately trying to make sure everything is sorted and ready.
The preparations for many has already begun, as I walk to school I can already see Christmas trees appearing behind the net curtains in some of the windows, as I walk through the town center the Christmas lights are hanging off the shop roofs, the stores playing Christmas music and staff piling chocolate selection boxes on the shelves, and today I was drawn into the spirit and came home with these cute critters.
well it is only 1 week and we will all be officially on the run upto Christmas, always marked with advent calenders, children up and down the country will be opening up a door on an advent calender, the shops are selling the chocolate calenders in their hundreds, you can get Character ones, festive ones even dog treat ones for the beloved pet!
It gets me thinking though, when I was growing up I never not once had a chocolate advent calender, my Gran always brought me and my sister a picture calender, each year a different scene sometimes it would be a traditional snow scene, or others a cute hedgehog in a Santa hat, but either way there wasn't ever any chocolate, I remember going to school and all the children sharing what chocolate token they had woken up too, I do remember thinking I wish I had a chocolate advent calender, but it was never overly important, I did love to see the pictures appear on the traditional calenders my Gran brought us, and as the years went on they become a real tradition for us as a family, I remmeber my friends mum buying me a chocolate advent calender for the first time when I was a teenager, when I left home and had my own children I didn't know which way to go, for the first few years when they were young I didn't really have any advent calenders at all, my mum tried hard to find paper calenders but they seem increasingly difficult to find, then my neighbour brought my children Chocolate advent calenders one year, they were only young maybe 3 or 4. They were delighted. The following year again I resisted purchasing a chocolate advent calender but on the 1st of December my son came home from school asking why he didn't have a chocolate calender so I quickly scurried off to try and find one, not wanting him to be the odd one out, and the years since I have always gone with the flow and brought them chocolate ones.
I loved the fact my Gran stuck hard and fast to the paper versions never deviating and no matter where she had to go to find them she would always get them, we may have secretly wished at the time that she hadn't and we could have nagged our mum into getting us an 'ordinary' chocolate variety, but now looking back those paper calenders are a huge part of my Christmas memories, and maybe I should have tried harder to stick to my Grans NO CHOCOLATE rule and continue the tradition.
What do you use to count down to Christmas? do you always give in to the pester power and have a chocolate advent calender? or do you have another family tradition on the run up to Christmas?
There are some lovely calenders around like this wooden tree from Next, which could become a lovely new family tradition, do you think the children would be happy with that or do you think they would still long to have the same as so many of their friends?