I'm not a very religious person.
But I like to observe the Christian festivals as well as the old pagan festivals. I pick and mix my religion.
Advent as I understand it is a time of waiting. Waiting for Christ's birth. It isn't supposed to be a time of celebration. Churches are not decorated for Christmas until Christmas, at least not the ones I infrequently visit. Advent is a penitential season not one of feasting and indulgence. I try (not very hard it has to be said) to remember this and to keep our meals relatively simple and frugal at least up until a week before Christmas.
We don't put our tree up until a week before Christmas either, and it's down on New Year's Day.
I also avoid shopping as much as I can during Advent. Truthfully this is because I hate the Christmas madness and junk that fills shops at this time of year but also because I think conspicuous consumption sits uncomfortably with what Advent is meant to be for. But mainly the first reason.
And this is why I can smugly say 'I have finished my Christmas shopping'. Yep, all done bar a few bits and pieces which I will do tomorrow. Nearly all done online from the comfort of my sofa.
The goose is ordered, the pudding, cake and mincemeat are made. I think I'll put my feet up until Christmas Eve :o)
Today I have been renovating our Advent calendar. I made this about five years ago in a fit of creativity and craftiness. It is from a pattern in a book and not from my own brain. The lovely thing about this calendar is that it can be used from the beginning of Advent and not just the beginning of December. The two things are not the same. This year Advent is quite long -27 days because Christmas falls on a Saturday. The longest it can be is 28 days. This coming Sunday is the first day of Advent so I needed to overhaul the calendar this week.
Close up you can see the glue smears and blu-tak smudges, the rips and creases.
Some of the windows needed re-glazing.
This is the back.
And this is the front with all the shutters blu-takked on. They can be opened in any order but we always start with the top centre one and of course finish with the Nativity scene in the middle. The children take turns to open them. They seem to like it despite its lack of chocolate. When did it become mandatory for there to be a payment of chocolate for each window opened?
We stand it on our fireplace (the place where we could plug in an electric fire if we had one) with a lamp behind it.
This is a photo from last Christmas. I shall try and get a better one this year.
This is the book from which I got the pattern. Making the calendar was something of a labour of love.
You can find All Year Round here.
If you are wondering what the gnomes are doing there they are representing the mineral kingdom which is one of the four kingdoms of nature (the human, the animal, the plant and the mineral) according to Waldorf-Steiner philosophy. The kings are not there because they were not present at the Nativity.