As I’ve mentioned, the entire month of December is the Christmas season to me. When I lived in Europe, I spent Christmas with my extended family in Denmark every year. Every day was special in the month of December. The Advent Calendar was a tradition that was kept in several different ways as we counted down to Christmas.
First of all, there was the chocolate Advent Calendar. Always a favorite. I worked with teenagers as a girl’s dean at a boarding school in Denmark for one year. During December, I kept my chocolate Advent calendar on the inside of my apartment door. The kids would stop by and visit, and invariably the boys would steal chocolates out of the calendar, and re-set the little paper doors to look like they hadn’t been opened. Needless to say, there were several unhappy days of December where I went without chocolate because of those rascals.
In Scandinavia, they also have Christmas specials every night of Advent. Usually family-oriented, every night of December there is a new episode of an ongoing Christmas series. They have Christmas themes and can include song and dance and humor. They often focus on nisser, which are like elves. They are also known as tomte. Instead of making toys, the nisse protect the farmlands, and can be mischievous or even dangerous. You appease the nisse by leaving him risengrod, or rice pudding. In my favorite Advent series, The Julekalender, the nisse speak a strange blend of English and Danish. I actually could pick up on a lot of that series. Unfortunately, the non-magical characters spoke with a very thick Northern Danish accent, so I was pretty lost there.
(This clip may be entirely lost in translation, but it makes me giggle.)
This year, the Advent Calendar has already shown up in some of my random internet browsing. Starbucks is doing a “12 Days of Sharing” where they have a little window that pops open each day to show which special they are featuring that day. Even cuter, but way more out of reach, is the Christian Louboutin site. Each day a window opens and a gorgeous shoe is featured. I swoon.
How do you count down?