When I was a little girl, the Christmas excitement began with the arrival of a large brown envelope. It contained a beautiful, glittery Advent calendar, a present from Auntie Maude. She sent one to my brother and sister too. She didn’t live that far away, just on the other side of Ipswich, but she always posted them to us to make it extra special. We didn’t get much post otherwise, apart from birthday cards.

A 1960s Advent calendar

A 1960s Advent calendar

They really were lovely and always traditionally Christmassy as in they had angels, shepherds or other religious themes. I mean, that’s what Christmas is about. There’d be copious amounts of glitter all over them and truly beautiful little drawings behind each window. And that was all – no choccies or Lego or Playmobil. Simply a Christmassy picture. And there was always either a star or a crib scene behind the double doors for 24th December.

I have to say I think it’s rather sad that Advent calendars have succumbed to this general cult of the celebrity and TV-tie-in that reigns today. And I’m not even sure you can still get ones without sweets in, can you? Rors this year has a Star Wars Advent Calendar, a present from his indulgent big sister in Canada. It even has 32 days of sweets to take him through with one a day to the New Year. This must be a North American thing – an extra week of extra calories! He’s delighted with it, needless to say. But there’s not a speck of glitter anywhere.

starwars ad cal

You get online Advent calendars these days too, and perpetual ones. We have four of the latter in the house, although they’re not all in use. One is fabric and was made by Caiti’s godmother, Auntie Janet, one is a serviettage masterpiece (hmm) by moi that has jokes in it this year, and the other two I made from matchboxes. They’re all fun and add to the festive feel of anticipation.

But you know, I do miss those old-fashioned ones from my childhood.