At the risk of sounding like the Four Yorkshiremen: when my sister and I were small, we used to get the same advent calendars out every year. They were the kind where you open a little door and there’s a picture behind it – Santa, or a snowman, or one had a dark haired girl holding a candle. There definitely wasn’t any chocolate, and that meant you could re-use them.

BlogmasThen at some point – I think around the time my brother, six years younger than me, started school – we changed up our advent calendar game. That’s right, we got the kind with a picture of Santa or a snowman or a girl holding a candle… but said picture was hidden behind a bit of actual honest to goodness chocolate! It was a mystery wrapped in an enigma covered in tin foil.

This year's calendar from my mum
This year’s calendar from my mum

I’m not sure how this came about. Maybe the picture based calendars finally gave up the ghost after several years of small fingers prying the doors open? Maybe we waged a sustained campaign of terror until our parents caved in, because all the other kids had calendars with food in them and it wasn’t fair? Maybe we threatened to run away from home if chocolate was not forthcoming – it wouldn’t have been the first time we deemed deepest winter an appropriate time to leave home. Hopefully one or both of them will read this post at some point, and offer a clarification.   Regardless, the change was made, beginning a life long love of starting each morning of December with a sugary pick-me-up.

Now we are adults, my sister, an authority on all things festive, regularly makes and dispenses advent calendars for friends, her fiance, and of course her siblings and associated housemates. She presented me with this beautiful thing a few years ago:


(it’s made of 25 tiny festive buckets!) And regularly continued to stock it with chocolate, until this year – when she found herself unable to do so, for the geographical reason of having moved to Leeds.

So yesterday, I filled our buckets with chocolate and hung it on our newly built bookshelves for the first time.

The next step, I suppose, is that every morning when I get up early to write before work (ha) I will have a sweetie, panic slightly about the fact Christmas is getting closer and I’ve done nothing for it, and think about a seasonal story that could fit behind a window in a traditional calendar.

Maybe I’ll start with Santa, or a snowman. Or maybe I’ll come up with a tale about a dark haired girl, holding a candle.