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Advent Calendars

Maybe it is because I am not married and have no children that I've never heard of Advent Calendars until now! Apparently they have been around for over 100 years and can be religious or commercial. Nowadays they tell me they are commonplace, especially where there are children. What is their purpose? One of the lessons it seems to me is to teach us patience: everyone knows that there are small treats behind each date with its little door and we must not plunder the contents of the 20th Dec. on the 5th. Once a season for repentance, advent is now seen as a season for hope.
I checked out samples for 2013. Most of the 'religious' calendars I've seen concentrate on Christian preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, with relevant scripture texts and pictures.

The more 'Winterfest' commercial efforts have all kinds of rubbishy advertising for chocolates, cakes, and even whiskey.

One calendar I did like was
2013 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar which presents an amazing new image of our universe from NASA's Hubble telescope. It can be reached at:



I remember making them for myself many years ago when I was just out of college. I remember the little shutters one to be opened each day. I don't remember what I put behind each window. I assume a little painting. But what did I paint?
They were very popular in the late 1950's with people involved in liturgical reform.
What inspired you to make that calendar? Was it in a liturgical tradition or a commercial one, or some other context?
I made my own Advent Calendar for several years. I was an art major in college. I may have discovered Advent Calendars there. I rather dimly remember a book put out by people in Grailville Ohio about celebrating Christmas. I'm sure they must have talked about them.

More specifically I celebrated the Great O antiphons. I once painted them on glass doors of the bookcases in our office and we kept them up till Lent.
That's lovely. Maybe you'd make this Christmas special for all of us by designing and sharing some new images of the O Antiphons for 2013. Looking forward to it.
I too would be interested in seeing them!

I'm only really familiar with them as black dots in the musical scores, and even then just the Charpentier and Vaughan Williams settings.
The calendars I usually buy for people have a Nativity scene with the doors acting as a border, so that even when they are all open, it doesn't infringe on the picture.
Usually they have a suitable scriptural image behind the door, with the relevant scripture printed on the reverse of the door (but given the varying sizes of calendars, some print it in full whilst others give you the Bible reference to look up for yourself).
I don't really approve of purely commercial Advent calendars as Advent is a religious, Christian season and I don't purchase any for myself as I am not a Christian.

Also, 99.99% of chocolate-filled ones have really manky chocolate, so fans of confectionary can just have some really good chocolate as a 'tree gift' on the 25th.
I certainly agree with you about the manky chocolate
generally available at Christmas!
If you have an address and some idea of any dietary allergies/issues, I am happy to post some of 'the good stuff' for you to enjoy both eating and sharing around. It's not a problem, I have all kinds of vouchers and discounts that I'll never use otherwise before they expire.
Thank you for your very generous offer. In spite of calories (!) I could not turn down such a lovely gesture at Christmas time.

Address: Michael Kavanagh, CBS, Joseph St., Wexford, Ireland.
No problem! There'll be a small 'care package' going out tomorrow from my preferred chocolate supplier (if it goes direct from them, they have all the packing materials as well as automatic registered post). It's been a little delayed owing to unexpected short notice events, however nothing bad has happened.
How wonderful. Thank you very much. Looking forward to sampling your taste in chocolate!