Advent Calendar December 4

Decorate the Christmas tree.

As a child my parents usually got us an advent calendar, the kind with the little doors that opened to reveal a chocolate surprise inside.  I always loved that although I am not sure how commonly children in the United States have them.  They have these same type of calendars in Germany.  All of the chocolate manufacturers produce at least one version, if not multiple.  I haven't had one in years and decided I would get one for us this year.  I came close to buying one several times but never could decided about one over another.

Then a few weeks ago I was in Tchibo and saw an idea I liked even better.  They were selling a set of felt pockets labeled 1 to 24 that you could fill yourself with anything you like.  I picked it up and on Friday we started our own family tradition.  For each day I put a little piece of paper with an activity that we could do together.  This kind of 'fill yourself' advent calendar is very popular in Germany and comes in many different forms.  In fact, the advent calendar itself was invented by German Lutherans who started the tradition of physically counting down the first 24 days of December.

The Saffa pulls out the day's paper each morning and then sometime during the day we do the activity.  For example on Friday night, the activity was a dinner date, Saffa's choice of restaurant.  When he got home from work, he had made his selection and the three of us bundled up and headed out for some sushi.  It's hard to have a peaceful dinner when you are out with Pea.  Not because he isn't good - he is very easy to take along and we have done so on numerous occasions - but because he attracts a small fan club where ever we go.

Yesterday's activity was to decorate the Christmas tree.  Although we will spend Christmas with my family in the US, I still wanted to get a tree and decorate it.  It's our first Christmas as a family and I wanted us to get into the spirit together.  We're also planning to have a Christmas open house next weekend and it didn't seem right to not have a tree.

We picked up a tree just down the road from our apartment on Saturday, a gorgeous Nordmann Fir, and set it up yesterday.  We also lit our first fire in our wood stove and at dusk lit up the tree candles.  While it makes me nervous to have open flame near a tree, there is really nothing as beautiful as the tree lit up with little white candles.  Magic.

All in all, I hope this becomes a family tradition every year as it has been a lot of fun so far and I am looking forward to the activities for the rest of the month.

Posted from Munich


Aimee said...

We've been focused on "experience" advent, too. It's been fun coming up with all the different activities.

Christmas is going to take on a whole new level of fun for you as Pea gets older. Seeing it through a child's eye seems to reinvigorate the excitement you used to have as a child.

Are those real candles on a tree???

Expat Traveler said...

We got a fake tree this year. Yours is beautiful! Love the traditions. We don't really have any yet but we must figure it out quickly!!!

Juelle-Ann said...

Froehe Weinachten! I'm missing the holiday celebrations this year. Wishing I were there instead of here. I always had the chocolate advent calendars until I was about 13. Then I got the "activity" calendar. I still send the chocolate type when I can find them to the "small" people in my life.

Enjoy the season!