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My Advent calendar this year.
my advent calendar

Advent is the season in Western Christian churches that precedes Christmas. It's often been noted that religious observances that become part of the majority popular culture lose some of their religious meaning and become secularized. That's certainly happened with Christmas, especially in the U.S., and it's sort of happened to Advent too, although we mostly just call it "December".

german advent calendarThe best-known secularized vestige of Advent that remains is the Advent calendar. When I was a little girl, Advent calendars were paper, and usually European (the German ones, like the one pictured here, are still around). The idea is that there's a picture with 24 little doors cut in it, numbered 1-24, and each day from December 1 through Christmas Eve, you open a door and find another little picture behind it. The original intent was to guide children through the religious season, but we've gone pretty far afield, as we'll see.

In traditional calendars, door 24's picture is always the Nativity, but the earlier 23 may show anything -- treats like gingerbread or candy; small animals; little angels; anything that might amuse a child.

chocolate advent calendar

When I got a little older, chocolate Advent calendars started to be available, still European in origin. They're basically a very shallow box made of light cardboard, containing a plastic mold with 24 small shapes filled with chocolate, with a door above each piece of chocolate. The picture isn't nearly as pretty, but hey, there's chocolate!




star wars lego advent calendarThere's a really big gap between those and the Star Wars Lego "Advent calendars" that are the only ones that entertain my nephews. Let's go below the fold and look at some others.

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If you google Advent calendar images today, you'll find that they've taken off in pretty much every direction. There are fancy wooden ones for sale, with little doors or drawers that you can fill anew each year with candies or other small treats.
advent calendar wooden house
wooden advent calendar
There are fabric and knitted ones, banners with 24 pockets or garlands with 24 small stockings or hats.
felt advent calendar
knitted advent calendar
advent calendar envelopes
And there are any number of creative, cute do-it-yourself Advent calendar ideas.
advent calendar paper trees
advent calendar muffin tin
So, I'd like to acknowledge a gift, and then I'd like to give you all one. First, many thanks to the wonderful Sara R for the beautiful electronic advent calendar she sent me this year! This is an application you install on your computer, and each day it shows you a charming little scene (in an Edwardian mansion staffed by teddy bears!), or gives you an activity like arranging electronic flowers or designing your own snowflakes, which then fall outside. It's definitely a girl thing, but I must say it's extremely soothing, as everything at the electronic mansion is entirely under control, no driving about in the sleet is necessary, and the teddy-bear staff are diligent and have excellent taste.

ring nebulaBut here is something that I think all KTKers would like: the Hubble Space Telescope Advent calendar adds a new and lovely deep-space image each day through Christmas. (The first image, shown here, is the Ring Nebula; there's some very interesting text for each image as well.) I've been enjoying them very much so far; I recommend the 1280 px option if your screen can handle it. Thank you, Science!!!




holly border small

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of their evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, interesting videos, and so forth. We would also appreciate links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate.

Please note that pie fights will be unwelcome in this community, just as in most other series at DKos.

Finally, readers may notice that most who are posting diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but that definitely does not mean that newcomers will be excluded or unwelcome. We're happy to welcome guests to our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.

KTK posts nightly at 5:00 Pacific, 6:00 Mountain, 7:00 Central, 8:00 Eastern.

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