Thursday, December 1, 2011

The countdown begins

Today, the first day of December, children (and grown-ups) around the world begin their countdowns to Christmas Day.

I’ve always loves the tradition of the Advent Calendar. The first one I remember having as a little girl was simple and homemade – just a long, red strip of felt that hung from my bedroom doorknob with a little bell on the bottom. Twenty-four green strings were attached to the felt, and each one secured a piece of candy. 

Every day I would eat a candy and count how many I had left. The last one was consumed on Christmas Eve, and that meant Santa Claus would come that night. The last piece of candy was always the most special and just a bit better than all the other pieces.

I wonder what ever happened to that old Advent Calendar. I can’t remember when, exactly, but one year we had a new one. It might have been around the time my little brother, Aaron, was born. (He’s eleven years younger than me.) The new one looked more like a calendar with twenty-four numbered pockets, and you moved the little Christmas mouse over one pocket every night.

“But where’s the candy?” Yeah, our mom thought the same thing, so she put two pieces of candy in every pocket – one for me and one for Aaron. Every night before bed we got to partake of the Advent Calendar goodies. The candy was always the same so there was no reason to fight over it. The only difference was the sparkly wrapping.

”Do you want the green Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup or the red one? Do you want the sliver Hershey’s Kiss or the gold one?” I always let Aaron pick first. (At least I think so. Our mom might remember that differently.)

That was our tradition every year until I went off to college, leaving my seven year-old brother to carry on the tradition alone. When I talked to Aaron on the phone, he would tell me all about the candy he had found in calendar thus far.

Halfway through December, the semester ended, and I headed home for the long holiday break.

“SIS!” Aaron pounced on me as soon as I came in the door. I barely took my shoes off before he led me over to the Advent Calendar and announced that I had a lot of catching up to do.

He counted off all the days I had missed while I was away at school and instructed me to catch up so we could continue our tradition that night.

I smiled at the little boy whom I had missed so much. I told him that it was way too much candy for me to eat all by myself and that I would need some help.

He smiled back at me. That was exactly what he wanted to hear.

This post is inspired by this week’s writing prompt by Mama Kat (#3)  of “Mama’s Losing It.” I can’t wait until Quinn is old enough for an Advent Calendar. I like this idea of using books instead of candy. If you like that idea too, here are some Christmas and winter-themed books.