One year, when I was small, a creative family friend presented my brother and I with the most magical advent calendar. She had appliquéd a tree, and stitched 25 brass loops onto it's branches. From every loop, hung a little wrapped gift. We were open mouthed in admiration. Nearly 35 years ago, things like this just didn't exist, it was more your cardboard nativity scene, open a window type. They didn't even have chocolates in them back in those days. My mum carried on the tradition for a few years, (and it was just as magical every year mum!) Now I do the same for my boys, but instead of an appliquéd tree, they are hung on a stick, or branch, what ever takes my fancy year on year.
The little gifts are collected over the year, you don't notice 50p or a £1 here and there, and it's a nice surprise for me when I add to the box that I store them in and remember what I have bought. I do love wrapping (which is why all of my jewellery goes out gift wrapped), and I had a lovely evening in front of the fire, Christmas music on, glass of fizz, getting things ready for this year's twig.
It involved tissue paper, some of my collection of washi tapes, glassine bags, ribbons, string, and little numbers and words I printed out on the computer.
People always ask what I put inside. It gets trickier now the boys are getting older (9 and 11), but it includes: chocolate snowmen, stickers that are bookmarks, a polystyrene plane to make, a shark tooth necklace, chocolate Father Christmas, gel pen, sharpener. (Good job they like stationery.) The glassine bag is a bit of a tease with the chocolate on show.
I thought they all looked rather lovely, and the boys were thrilled to see it. It's quite funny how excited they are every day, as they take turns to open one. As my biggest is now 11, I wonder how many more years he will be as interested.
Christmas has arrived!
(Sorry about the photos, it is very grey here in London today.)