Counting is a beautiful way to help us be mindful of the significance of occassions and to prepare our minds and spirits to appreciate more of what that period of time could offer us.
And we tend to count through so many seasons of life: the Forty Days of Lent, the episodes of our current favorite Netflix series, the number of days till our next vacation...
Advent - the period before Christmas - has been observed for centuries and started as a Fast. Fortunately for us chocolate has been introduced into Advent! And when you find that yummy morsel behind a little cardboard door it is all the better!
For 2017 First Advent falls on December 3. For many families this is the day the Christmas Season really starts. (As opposed to my family where my Mom would start playing Christmas carols on the 8 track the day after Halloween!).
First Advent is the day to lay out the Advent Wreath and light the first of the 4 Advent Candles. It may be the day to also set up the Christmas Tree and as a family hang the collection of ornaments. Some of us take out our Nativity Scene (or scenes) and set them up on the mantle.
But some of us are already stressed out about Christmas by the beginning of Advent - living with the high expectations we feel from the Season or the high expectations we put on ourselves. Give yourself a break and read my Blog about Meaningful Christian Christmas Traditions 15 Seconds at a Time.
The Advent Calendar can be as high stress or low stress as you like. In fact the ones with chocolate are actually good for you because - as we all know - Stressed spelled backwards is Desserts!
Gingerbread World offers a large array of Advent Calendars for children and for adults - you can browse through our collection here (link coming soon). All of our Calendars are imported from Europe - mostly from Germany where the whole calendar concept originated.
One of our favorite Advent Calendars last Holiday Season was from Lebkuchen Schmidt. In this Calendar, the 90 year old company brought together the ancient recipes of Lebkuchen with some high tech - a link you could access online on the 24th day. The Calendar was in the shape of a house with cardboard doors on each of the four sides and roof. Rather than finding a little piece of chocolate or cookie behind each door, the Calendar-House was filled with packages of fresh Lebkuchen cookies to share throughout the Advent Season.
Under the door on the 24th day you found a Code that you entered at the given web address to reveal your last Advent surprise. A number of our customers gave the Lebkuchen Schmidt Calendar to their grandchildren and then enjoyed having the young ones show them how the internet part of it works!
And on the theme of online links...I came across this wonderful online Advent Calendar produced by (or for?) the German Embassy in the UK. Available in a number of languages it provides an explanation of Advent and good reminders to make the best of the Season along with online games, music, recipes and beautiful photos.
Down for the count!
Owner @ Gingerbread World
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