Advent, we love it! As the weather gets cold, we get cosy! It’s a great time of year to enjoy the family together. We look at simple cheap and free activities to celebrate in the spirit of advent and have fun as a family as you prepare for Christmas. (If you are looking for our popular range of Gemstone and Fossil Advent Calendars, you need our shop, right next door – click here.) Now, to continue….
Advent – is it religious?
Yes , the origins of Advent are Christian. However, popular culture has also climbed onto the band wagon. We give you a brief, simple explanation of the origins of Advent here. But then lots of ideas of how to prepare for Christmas. We are all about family. Love is important to us. Learning and having fun learning as a family are Happy Days!
Advent – What does it Mean though?
Advent is part of the Christian Calendar and runs from the 4th Sunday before Christmas. It is a way that Christian peoples in the West have prepared for the birth of Christ. The word Advent comes from the Latin ‘Adventus’, meaning coming. As in the birth of Christ. The Nativity. The Latin comes from the Greek, ‘Parousia’, which often refers to the second coming of Christ. In the East Advent is marked by a fasting for 40 days.
So how have some people traditionally celebrated Advent?
Early German protestants used to draw a chalk line as a family to count every day until Christmas. The Nativity, not the presents, we guess! But we like the idea. We use that chunky chalk you can get in the pound shop and mark out the days on the garden path. If the rain doesn’t get to it first that is!
People were engaged in daily prayer. Our version is to remember love and kindness every day. To speak kindly to each other and work as a team to enjoy Advent together rather than feel that stressy build to Crimbo! The family that plans and plays together makes it to Christmas day with fun and laughter. Team work!
Decorations are part of the tradition of Advent too. The ‘hanging of greens’. Making simple wreaths and using greenery, ivy and holly to decorate the house for free. Celebrate winter instead of dreading it. After this, check out our blog on the Danish tradition of ‘Hygge’ or getting cosy for the winter. Bring the outside in. Let nature cheer your days when sunlight is in shorter supply!
Don’t some people use candles to mark Advent?
If we think of times before electricity, people would have used candles in winter for light. We also like the feeling of cosiness they bring. Although we never leave them unattended (… since the boxing day when the table started smoking eek!!! Battery operated are not so romantic but they are safer we guess) Candles are a great way to mark the progress to Christmas. The traditional advent candles, lit one per week from the beginning of Advent (remember the fourth Sunday before Christmas) stood for hope, faith, joy and peace. We like that. You can learn more about it if you search on Google. Candles can be combined with the green wreaths. You might like to use some flame retardant spray. Or be extra vigilant at the very least.
So when did people start to use Advent Calendars?
Apparently Gerhard Lang was the first person to invent an advent calendar in the early 1900s. The idea of marking the 24 days which add up to Christmas. Count Up that is. The excitement builds to Christmas. More doors open on the calendar. The days mount up. The numbers increase with the fun and celebration. To the day of the Nativity.
Which brings us back to our fun, fantastic and fabulous gemstone and fossil advent calendars for the whole family! We even have an offer if you need to buy 2! We have them Deluxe, budget, with rocks, gems, Santa, his elf, Rudolph or Snowmen. Have fun shopping the range In the meantime, we’ll leave you with a funny story…..
Our wonderful friend, (who happens to be a very cool Christian), is also a huge fan of Star Wars. His wife ordered Advent calendars for him and his son. Two Star Wars calendars. From a big supermarket chain. Yup, you guessed it. The Star Wars calendars were in short supply so they sent the best they could do… one Star Wars Advent Calendar for their delighted son. The other, for our brilliant friend… Dog Biscuits. A dog biscuit advent calendar heh heh heh!!! Lucky he has a great sense of humour!
So the moral of our tale, stick with a small independent. Because we care. Because we’ll never (fingers crossed) let you down. Because we’ll never send you dog biscuits in stead of Fossils. Or crystals. Or anything else. Because we do a little dance every time you order from us.
And as long as you get your order in on time, those little faces will light up on every day or advent, because we work all year to make it happen. Trust me.
Thanks for reading – if you have enjoyed this blog you might wish to learn about finding fossils, or some summer dinosaur related activities… we have many, take a look!