All Things Advent
SO here we are, the 1st December 2019. Already Christmas is all around us, twinkly lights, mince pies, trees, gifts galore, carols, excited children and adults all who just can’t wait. But traditionally this was day One of the build up, it is All Things ADVENT…
So what is Advent?
It is different things to different people. Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. But now, it’s more commonly the period from 1st December right up to Christmas Day!
If you have you ever had an Advent Calendar you will know that the idea is to find and open a numbered door each day. From the 1st December right up to Christmas Eve. Anticipation creeping all the way.
‘how many more sleeps?…’…children whisper all around the world…
The Advent Calendar itself can be traced back to the 19th Century. The first known Advent Calendar was made by handwork and is from the year 1851. Other early styles were the Adventclock or the Adventcandle.
These days you can literally have anything you dream of in your advent calendar. Chocolate, Cheese, Beauty products (big for 2019!), Prosecco, Beer, Gin, Lego. The Royal mint offer 23 chocolate coins building up to medal and 5 extremely lucky people will find a bullion 2019 Half Sovereign coin behind door 24!!!
According to Guinness World Records. The world’s largest advent calendar was in our very own St Pancras Station, London.
The massive calendar, which measured 232 feet and 11 inches tall, and 75 feet and 5 inches wide, celebrated the reopening of the station following a renovation in 2007.
You can of course start and create your own family tradition.
Filling little wood drawers, or soft pockets with trinkets or edible treats.
More simply, paper bags (which can be decorated) hung up with clothes pegs is such a personal way of beginning the Christmas cheer.
I myself always loved the large candles that you burn down a day at a time.
I only recently learned of the symbolism of the Advent candles that are used in a wreaths.
There are three purple candles because the colour violet is a liturgical colour that signifies a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice. One Pink because rose is a liturgical colour for joy and one white the colour of purity.
The Prophecy candle, or candle of Hope and Expectation – purple
The Bethlehem candle, or candle of Faith and Love – purple
The Shepherds’ candle, or candle of Joy and Good News – pink
The Angel’s Candle or candle of Peace – purple
In modern day adaptations a fifth candle has been introduced, the Christ Candle and is lit on Christmas Eve, this candle is white.
For something completely different you can buy into various charity advents, where each door you open tells you how much you have donated to a specific charity and a little about them. Advent of Change are one of these such calendars.
Reverse advent calendars…
Reverse Advent Calendars work by you filling them every day with with items of food or clothing that can then be taken to a food bank or charity.
Then on Christmas Eve you take everything you’ve collected to a homeless shelter, church or charity. Knowing that you’ve given a Christmas present to someone that really needed it.
Besides this being a fun inclusive activity for the whole family, it teaches our children the importance of helping others and seeing the bigger picture at Christmas.
One thing is for sure, advent is the beginning of
the Christmas hype, enjoy it, share it
but most of all love it!