1st Sunday in Advent

1st December

My kitchen is not normally laid out like this, but thought I would
      show you some of my kitchen crockery.  More on this in a later post.
After both children having friends over for a sleepover, they finally trudged down the stairs in pj's to a warm (underfloor heating was on) Christmassy kitchen.  One of mine greeted me cheerfully with a, "Happy 1st of December," whilst the other muttered, "Oh my god, it's red!"  My children have always been chalk and cheese.

Normally I would make waffles for breakfast, but after having a late night myself, we had a quicker version; drop pancakes, smothered in a variety of banana, blueberries and nutella, and occasionally all together!

 Advent star in the front room window.  Warming from
inside and outside. Welcomes us home on dark nights
      and lights up the room inside with a gentle glow. 
Love it.

So what is Advent?  For me, it is the beginning of my absolute favourite time of year, of waiting, anticipation, home making, cossetting, log fires and brisk walks with family.  In reality of course, life is rushed from one 'must to' to the next 'almost forgot to do that' moment.  Life is still at full pace with the added rush of the lead up to Christmas, but do you know what, I LOVE it.

So what is Advent?  Christians see it as a season to remember the first coming of Christ, but it also is a time to direct the mind and heart to await Christs second coming at the end of time!  Therefore it is thought of as a period of devout and joyful expectation.  I can associate with that last sentence, and that is how I too see Advent, A JOYFUL TIME.

Now looking tired and in need of TLC,
on  my 'to do' list in the New Year,
to ensure it will last for years to come.

Advent begins on the closest day to November 30th, which is why it has a different date each year.  The Germans were the first to create a known advent calender, handmade of course, in Hamburg in 1851.  Well mine is not so old, nor as traditional as the beautiful paper calenders you can still find in the shops, but I did make mine when I was 16, some, oh, so, many years ago and instead of filling it up for myself, the children eagerly await to open this Advent calender. 

Close up of the calender cross stitched whilst at secondary
school. We were given the option of taking an extra exam,
to be completed in our own time.  It was art and design
and my whole theme was, you guessed it: Christmas!
 On the back of this calender it is felted and stitched with
various stitches to show different skills to the examiner,
something one would never normally do when making a project such as this.

It is traditional in Norway to make Advent calenders for children, shops sell premade paper bags beautifully numbered 1-24, ready for little goodies to be packaged up and hung on the calender.  Most years I manage to grab a set from my visits to Norway, but alas this year it was not to be.  So, I have hurriedly wrapped mine, having not tied them up in beautiful ribbon, but have hung them by safety pins, not quite the yummy mummy image I would like to create, but hey, I am living in the real world.  This year there has been a big focus in the paper in Norway, (link below) suggesting that some families spend £700 on the presents within the Advent calender!  I do not do that, however, it is an added expensive, but I am on the look out for suitable cheap and fun things all year round, occasionally, things are picked up for free at events, such as key rings and pens.  Where there is a will, there is a way!

Poorly photographed, another on my wish list:
a photography course!
When I was first married I felt bad that I had such a large Advent calender, that I made my husband his very own, and every year, we fill the little felt pockets with a tiny chocolate, it always used to be Quality Street but more latterly, Celebrations.  This tradition of counting down the days is fun for all and one I would not want to be without.

Both calenders are cross stitched, I went through quite a phase of it at one time and made a few Advent calenders for friends.  If I were to make one now, it would be in free hand machine embroidery, a new found love of mine.  If only there were more hours...

 Advent, means candles, purple not red and four of them, one new one to be lit each Sunday.  This is something we have always done, another fine way of counting down.  Why purple though?  Because it is a colour that symbolises royalty throughout the ages.  So out comes the purple table runner, one year I really should make my own (another wish list item) and the purple candles which were   bought this year in Norway, whilst visiting a very dear family friend, we popped into the local candle making factory, and as I could not choose between the colours, decided to have a mix.  I have since learnt that the third Sunday in Advent, should not be a purple candle, but a pink one, see the below photo!  Apparently the colour represents the shift during Advent from one of repenting towards celebrating. 

After lighting the candle tonight, another newish Norwegian tradition, that began probably 15 or so years ago, is to watch an Advent TV series on Telly.  Each night throughout December families sit together and watch Blafjell, Bluemountain.  It is a lovely end to a hectic day, fifteen minutes, of watching a Nordic scene played out beautifully.  I asked the children this morning, if they were too old for it now, but they both promptly replied, it wouldn't be Advent without our Blafjell.  I LOVE TRADITIONS.

Enjoy Advent everyone, I know we will with so much to look forward to.

Now off to make some cookie mixture for tomorrow...

Advent candles ready to be lit this evening.


  1. Så moro å lese :-)
    Also, a new trend in Norway is to knit your own advent calender:

  2. Thanks Karin! Love the idea of this new trend from Norway, so another for my wish list, did not realise it was going to be growing soooo quickly!

  3. Advent TV series on Norwegian TV go back further Selma. The first one was "Jul i Skomakergata" in 1979. Been many different ones, the one I just mentioned and Blåfjell that you mentioned are amongst the very popular ones and have been repeated many years running. Big tradition in Norway, every night in December to watch to "the advent calender" on tv.

  4. Thank you! good to have the proper facts, love that it has been going for so long. Would have thought the UK could have produced something like this, it is brilliant x

  5. I had no idea there was so much behind Advent - now I know - makes my kids little chocolate boxes look very inadequate!! I love the candles - I could do that part - knitting is something I may need to walk away from though :)

  6. Adele, Advent is just the best time ever, I too am learning about all sorts of things and am only on day 3 now of this blog! And why might you have to walk away from knitting?!!?


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