Thursday, December 01, 2005

the countdown starts

It's December 1st. In Germany that means you get to peek behind the first door of your Advent calendar. Some calendars, like the ones we're using this year, have drawers or pockets instead of doors.

Mr. M suprised me with this delightful calendar containing sweets from him and a 'joke a day' from the kids.

In his calendar from me, along with his favourite sweets, Mr. M is also getting some interesting looking chocolate, flavoured with Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Spekulatius (a spicy almond Christmas cookie) and coriander. If he doesn't eat it, I will!

This is the calendar we've been using for the boys for the past several years.

In place of candy or small presents (they do each get a regular chocolate-filled calendar), they get a coupon every day good for things like "a visit to the Christmas market", "movie of your choice" or "make a gingerbread house with Mummy". So far the idea has gone down very well.

In other news, I have been inspired by my lovely and very, very clever friend Betty (one of the first friends I made on the internet way back in 1998, by the way) to knit something. Yesterday I went downtown and chose some yarn, meaning that all my boys will be getting handmade scarves for St. Nicholas Day, which is December 6. Oh, that's next Tuesday. I guess I better get started!

The yarn isn't as garish as it looks in the picture and knits up really nicely so I should be able to make the deadline.


At December 01, 2005 12:19 p.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

Is it hard to knit? I actually always have wanted to learn to knit, to be able to knit my own scarves as well....

I still have neither an advent kalendar nor wreath. Gosh...I'm so Christmasy...

At December 01, 2005 2:04 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Elemm - it's quite easy, actually, once you learn how to hold the needles in a way that's comfortable for you. If you google "How to Knit" or "Learn to Knit" tons of sites come up and some even have demonstration videos. There's so much nice yarn out there right now!

Aww, Didn't T bastel you an Advents calendar? :-(

At December 01, 2005 2:35 p.m., Blogger Léons Life said...

Christina - I have used the idea you gave me to fill up Leons calender, so he has a mixture of chocs/sweets/tiny toys and coupons ( Sunday will be "Harry Potter" at the cinema coupon)

Thanks that was a really good idea

At December 01, 2005 3:02 p.m., Blogger Cathy said...

So great! We have a advent calendar too, but I have a German background as you know. We have one with stars in pockets and typically have had a Playmobil one, but had to drop that idea this year because our son gets up in the middle of the night every night through to CHristmas from the excitement of it. We have a paper one this year (posted on my blog) and it has generated just as much excitement. The advent calendar is such a fun tradition.

At December 01, 2005 3:11 p.m., Blogger Schatzi said...

What a loverly tradition! Mr M done did good with that new calendar santa-- and coupons are a great idea.
You and Betty and Painty inspire me with your cwaftiness!

At December 01, 2005 4:06 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

I think I was in a daze that today was already Dec. 1st. I remember when I had a calendar at a younger age. I'd like to do it again but I need to find one real quick! The problem is that I don't want chocolate in it because the cheap chocolates taste like crap! Mr P would love the joke a day thing for sure.

By the way - anyone know what's up with this stupid change in blogger?

At December 01, 2005 4:23 p.m., Blogger Léons Life said...

Change what change ?

At December 01, 2005 6:27 p.m., Blogger Ms Mac said...

You know, I totally forogt about advent calendars this year! Thankfully, so did the boys!

We have Samichlaus coming on Dec 6th too. My boys are happy that they're Aussie and so Santa visits the twice!

At December 02, 2005 6:26 a.m., Blogger Betty said...

Your yarn is beautiful ! ! ! !

I think Advent calendars are a Catholic thing maybe?? One with candy would be really good though. They're all cute.

At December 02, 2005 7:31 a.m., Blogger Karen said...

That's a great Adventskalendar - much better than anything store bought.

Happy knitting!!

At December 02, 2005 8:36 a.m., Blogger The SeaWitch said...

Christina...I love the advent calendars! I wish they sold them in Greece. All I've managed to find here over the years are the cardboard box chocolate calendars (blechhh). Post some more Christmas pics...I need to get in the spirit since my tree is going up this weekend and I'm dreading it. We lost half the christmas ornaments in the move last year and now my son wants a purple and green decorated tree instead of red and gold. I'll need sunglasses just to look at it. LOL

At December 02, 2005 8:37 a.m., Blogger Prairie Girl said...

I think that's such a unique Advent calendar. How very nice to have a surprise everyday. A joke from a child would be especially cool!

At December 02, 2005 9:32 a.m., Blogger christina said...

leon's life - I hope Léon liked his calendar!

Cathy - My brothers and I had a cute one with pockets when I was a little girl. We did the Playmobil and Lego calendars when our boys were small, but it just go to be Too Much Stuff and Too Much Excitement so we decided to tone it down a bit. Your paper calendar is beautiful.

Schatzi - I know for a fact that you're also very cwafty! :-)

Expat - December always kind of sneaks up on us, doesn't it? And I think you're preoccupied with other, more important things these days. :-) I haven't noticed any changed in Blogger. What did you see?

ms. mac - my boys love celebrating ALL the gift giving occasions. We do Nikolaus on the 6th, Weihnachtsmann on the 24th and Santa on the 25th!

betty - yep, I think most of the 'lead up to Christmas' stuff is Catholic, but we heathens just take the best parts.

Karen - I'm half way through the first scarf! Hard to find time when no one's around.

Seawitch - oooh, green and purple Our ornaments need a serious going- through this year. We have no colour scheme at all any more.

Prairie Girl- the jokes are wonderful. I did a joke calendar for Mr. M last year and he loved it. Coming up with 24 funny adult jokes in German isn't an easy task, though!

At December 02, 2005 11:43 a.m., Blogger swissmiss said...

Do people still put their boots on the window sill to be filled with chocolate? My sister-in-law's family is German, and that was always their tradition.

Advent calenders are really popular in Switzerland too (we forgot to open a door last night!) and not just in the Catholic cantons.

At December 02, 2005 12:16 p.m., Blogger christina said...

swissmiss - yes, they still put their boots (or stockings sometimes) out on the eve of Dec. 6 hoping that St. Nicholas will fill them.

We live in a pretty Protestant area, but I think almost every kid here has has an Advent calendar of some sort.

At December 02, 2005 3:36 p.m., Blogger Berlinbound said...

Oh damn ... I didn't know about this - Is it too late to give one as a gift?

At December 02, 2005 4:54 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I didn't grow up with an Advent Calendar but we've been doing one for Nicholas (5-yr-old grandson) the last 3 years. You've given some great ideas for next year's! Thanks :)

At December 02, 2005 6:00 p.m., Blogger melusina said...

My mother always made sure I had an advent calendar, and now I miss them. I think they are both a Protestant and Catholic thing, I actually thought they were Protestant only (I grew up celebrating advent season in the Methodist church). I don't think the Greek Orthodox church recognizes advent (I haven't found an advent wreath either), so I guess that is why they don't have them here in Greece. So now I am wondering if I should bug my sister-in-law (who is in Germany until Christmas) to bring me a calendar.

At December 02, 2005 9:16 p.m., Blogger christina said...

berlinbound - It's never too late! :-)It's only been two days so I'm sure you can still find calendars in the stores.

Ginnie - the kids love it so much, don't they? It's such a nice way to see how long it is until Christmas.

Melusina - Yes, I think the Greek Orthodox church has a different schedule and wouldn't recognize Advent. Your s-i-l could probably get you a nice calendar.

At December 04, 2005 12:23 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a super idea for an Advent calendar! I really like the activity coupon idea. Must remember that for next year :)

At December 04, 2005 12:23 p.m., Anonymous lizardek said...

What a super idea for an Advent calendar! I really like the activity coupon idea. Must remember that for next year :)


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