A new variety of Christmas.

Can you imagine how many different traditions families have for Christmas?  When do you put up your tree?  Is it real or fake? When are the Santa letters written? Where do you post them? Where in the house does he leave the presents? Are they wrapped or unwrapped. So many different varieties of the same celebrations.

One of our traditions in this house is the advent calendar.

My eldest is twenty three and my youngest twelve, so as you can imagine we have been opening calendars for many years. December 1st was always greeted with great excitement. Christmas had officially begun. The countdown was started. It was now okay to speak about Santa, and to sing Christmas songs.

Our calender was a beautiful wooden one, in the shape of a house, with brightly coloured doors to be opened, each with a Christmas themed picture on it. However nice and pretty as it was, all my gang wanted was the mass produced ones which had a chocolate behind each door. At the time I had my four children, I minded two more girls, who were like family, and most days my friends four children were also over.  To buy eight or ten of those calendars was a cost I was not willing to bear, so I came up with an alternative ADVENT CALENDARidea.

Every day I hid one jelly or small sweet behind the appropriate door. The kids took it in turns to be the one to open that door and take the sweet. For those who didn’t open a door I hid sweets around the kitchen. I would then call them all back in and gave each a clue as to where their sweet was hidden. There was great excitement as they ran around the kitchen trying to be ‘the winners’, and there was always much joking about the poor misfortune who just couldn’t crack the code.

I have spent the past many Decembers lamenting the time and effort that went into the hiding of the sweets and the clues, not to mention always having a bag of cheap sweets around.  This year however that calendar is not in use. I must admit as each day passes and we do not have a big door opening ceremony I miss those days.  Why you may ask do we not have it this year? Well to my horror of horrors my youngest has been given one of those much wished for chocolate hiding calendars. Rightly or wrongly I believe that without it we might have managed to put off the inevitable for one more year. Daily I am concocting different ways to ‘lose’ it. (So far I’m thinking of telling her the dog ate it, but it’s not exactly original is it?)

As the days pass and no one else seems to miss the old calendar and the fun, I am forced to face the truth. Christmas as I knew it is over. My little ones are little no more. It is time for a new beginning. Time to find a different variety of Christmas. They are moving on and I must follow.

I’m not sure this new variety of Christmas will ever be as good as the old one, but you never know. As my daughter happily opens a door of her commercial calendar and scoffs a chocolate every day, I think she would tell me that she is more than happy with this new variety.

15 thoughts on “A new variety of Christmas.

  1. For years and years we used a beautiful hand-crafted fairy to grace the top of our tree – she was made from lovely natural shades of felt and velvet, and her hat was shaped from (fabric) leaves. She was beginning to look a little tired and we replaced her with a garish star… A few years later we wondered where the fairy was. We had wrapped her away carefully in tissue. Now, every Christmas she’s lovingly placed on the top of the tree. That is our little tradition in Belfast.
    I’m headed home this year, and she better be on top of the tree! I think she’s pushing 40 🙂

    1. I love traditions, and as we get older the ones associated with our childhood become so important.
      What a fab Christmas you’ll have with your little ones ‘back home’.

  2. I too have thought of ‘time for a new beginning Tric’ suggesting Gozo would be a nice place to kick it off – no luck, so back to the attic to resurrect a tree and decorations. not tonight though there is a bottle of Chilean red which must be sampled!!

    1. Ah we got the decorations up and the house looks and smells christmassy. So I too am pondering our new traditions while sampling a lovely white. Probably cheap, but hitting the spot.

      1. Not long back from my morning constitutional – the dog enjoys bringing me to the beach so he can play with the sea gulls – so time for some domestic stuff, the thaw is setting in now hope is similar down West Cork way, as they say in other parts, have a nice day.

  3. Each year in our home Santa leaves little gifts in a sack beside the tree. We have always told the children that gifts come from us but that Santa leaves little trinkets, lollies, chocolate etc.
    This year, the Teen pulled out her sack whilst we were putting up decorations and I told her that Santa wouldn’t be coming this year (don’t stress. She knows the truth about Santa and has done for years). She was devastated and I was heartbroken at her devastation so the GG and I have been out shopping for lots of little things to put in her Santa sack for Christmas morning.
    As for the advent calendar – I have one that I made that I place little things in and he always goes for the cheap chocolate one as well. lol I don’t think that tradition is going to die in a hurry.

    1. My crew have continued as normal this year even though it is the first time we have not had a child waiting for Santa. The whole thing is driven by our 23 year old who would be so like your teen (no w) if it all stopped.
      And so thankfully it continues. Because I love it.

    1. Yes I was thinking of you when I read one of your facebook posts.Our eldest are the same age.
      It’s different I suppose and I can imagine as they all grow up new traditions will evolve,maybe even one that means staying in bed after 7 on Christmas morning!

  4. What a wonderful tradition. As my only family are in KY and TX, and I have no money to go anywhere once again this year, I yearn to find a new tradition which I can hold close to my heart. This is the second week of Advent, and we are celebrating the upcoming birth of Christ, and this tradition I like to have as my own, as my only remaining family do not have similar beliefs. I’m not going to let that take away my ‘new’ tradition.

    1. Do you light the candles for Advent at home or do you go to the church to share it? It is a wonderful time of year to belong to a church.There are a wealth of traditions there.

  5. Aww Tric I know how you feel about old traditions fading away but from a different aspect. I am the daughter who misses all these things and the magic of Christmases that once were. I have a nostalgia about Christmases from the 90’s which always seemed to be so much more magical, where we’d play board games as a family, my brother and I would open our picture advent calendar – no chocolate at all and then we’d all wait until Christmas morning to open gifts as a family, just the four of us. I loved it. Now my mother opens her gifts whilst she’s running around getting things organised, my brother is no longer interested in anything Christmasey and this will be the last Christmas with all of us as my parents are separating. I can’t help but feel sad. I do hope I have as many wonderful Christmas memories as you’ve had with your children with my own little one. He’ll be in his 40’s and I’ll still be annoying him to see what surprise is in his felt advent calendar! 🙂

    1. Aw Fiona I am so sorry about your parents, that’s a devastating blow.
      I was lucky to be near the end of my family so by the time I was grown up, grandchildren had arrived so we always had big family Christmases.
      I’ve been reading your posts quite some time and I know without a shadow of a doubt you will create a fabulous Christmas for your little one. Come next year when he’s just a bit older you will have such fun. I know I have and I continue to have. Even with no smallie this year we are all counting the days.
      I hope you do have a good Christmas. I know that no matter what happens with the usual dramas in a family I am always conscious that my husband and children are my main priorities. If they are happy so am I, and vice verse!

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