When we were kids, my grandmother provided us with an Advent calendar each year. The five of us took turns finding and opening the little windows. It was always exciting to search for the next number and then to see what tiny picture waited behind the window. Those calendars had 25 windows, one for each day of December (not exactly Advent, but close). Modern ones now have 24. Maybe everyone is too busy on the 25th to care about the last window? Who knows.
When I was in high school, I sewed a felt Advent calendar wall hanging. I don't remember where the idea came from - maybe something my mom had seen. It has a green felt Christmas tree and 24 red felt pockets (because that's what fit neatly in three rows of eight, and I wasn't creative enough to add a 25th pocket) which I filled with tiny toys and trinkets. Each one fastens to the Christmas tree with a little safety pin, so over the 24 days, the tree is decorated. A few years ago my mom gave the calendar to my niece Sarah for her little boys, and they are carrying on the tradition. I asked her to send me a picture (quick!) to include in this post, so she got it out of the box it has been stored in for a year - it's a bit wrinkled. And, of course, undecorated, since it's only the first of December.
The year our courtship began, I was anticipating G coming from the Netherlands for a Christmas visit. I found this small, greeting card sized Advent calendar, bought two, and sent him one so we could both count down the days until we were together again. Bears baking Christmas cookies - oh, so cute. Whimsical and humorous. Lots of adorable mousies hiding in plain sight or inside of drawers (which are only discovered when that day's door is opened).
Later I framed mine, and I bring it out each year at the beginning of Advent. I love looking at the tiny details in the picture and in each window. And remembering that time of great anticipation.
The artist had a sense of humor - behind one door, next to the baby bear, is a pacifier
Since we married, I've sent Advent calendars to G's two daughters and their families each year. Their kids are older now, and I've asked if they still want me to continue the tradition, and the answer is Yes! The calendars for next year are already waiting.