Advent ideas and traditions – December 2005

Well this year succumbed to getting an advent calendar *without* pics behind every door… After seeing Sue’s one I bought the red-boxes-all-stacked-up-to-make-a-tree-shape one with little drawers to open instead… I have aims of using it next year, but replacing the chocs inside with home-made stuff instead…

So instead of opening a door a day and telling you all about the wintry scenes inside, this time I will add a link or some info here each day…

Dec 1: Tate Gallery Advent

Dec 2: “The New Zealand Christmas tree is called Pohutokawa and its flowers are bright red.” Find out how Christmas is celebrated around the world according to Woodlands Junior School in Kent!

Dec 3: Still time to create your own advent calender… Go the martha way, or more random (and prettier) with mini envelopes as mentioned on loobylu…

Dec 4: Not strictly advent but you can make your own Christmas tree – smaller, and with less needles… :) I would miss the piney smell of a real one though…

Dec 5: The North Pole! A proper old fashioned calendar from The North Pole (Scotland in this case) with festive facts, appalling jokes, recipes etc etc

Dec 6: Say festive things in lots of languages! Some audio clips from around the world wishing you Happy Christmas and New Year…

Dec 7: Lego Christmas! I would have loved this as a kid (still would probably..!) Build a new toy every day – better than chocolate anyhow…

Dec 8: Tate the cat’s adventure. Tate seems to have featured in many advent calendars – not surprising as she is a real cat, belonging to Penelope Schenk who has written and illustrated these advent calendars over the years..

Dec 9: Cut out paper. These illustrations made of paper cut-outs remind me of a children’s book I had by Joan Aiken called The Kingdom Under the Sea. Being a fairy tale it reminded me of anthologies of fairy tales which, in turn, remind me of Christmas.. voila!

10 Dec: Snow? After all the threats of it being the coldest winter for *ages* this year (no great shakes, as it hasn’t been cold proper in London for decades it seems) it looks like we’re in for….. mild temperatures… hurrumph – where’s my snow? eh? Well you can always keep an eye out for falling flakes here…

11 Dec: Dinner at a friend’s house I made these Christmas Cupcakes to take over – I hope they survive the bike journey! We are going over this afternoon, hope we’re not risking our lungs by cycling through the clouds from the burning fuel depot..erk.. not terribly festive but there you are…

12 Dec: Music, Poetry, Religion. The BBC does a classic Advent Calendar, and then shows you the other side of Christmas with it’s features dealing with festivities and family conflict, the vegan Christmas menu, the prevention of hangovers, the top ski resorts to escape to and finally, the history of Christmas trees!

Dec 13: Birdies. Although we are doing a fine job at feeding our local feathered friends, I’ve yet to see a robin (not like last year). Lots of little birds (see how au fait I am with nature, eh?) stuff their beaks, getting rounder and rounder, and greedy pigeons mill about underneath waiting for scraps and pooing everywhere… but robins? not a peep… where are you?

Dec 14: Last day for posting to Europe. Ok, so I missed the last day for mailing to the US, but am pleased I got myself together enough to make cards this year. I did a painting & then had elements from it turned into stamps. Am hoping to do some fabric prints with the same stamps in the new year too..

Dec 15: Books for Christmas. Tonight was the U75 Bookgroup’s Christmas Dinner at the Bonnington. Weirdly enough there was a Brixton Bookgroup’s Christmas dinner booked at the same place, only the night before… Anyhow wine was drunk, secret santa books were swapped and we all managed to agree on a book for next month too!

Dec 16: Live snow! The Actionettes were dancing at the beast that was last night’s Offline. 10 bands, 15 Dj’s, poets, dancing girls and 16 Brazillian drummers!

Dec 17: Decorate the tree! Decorated the tree today (if you haven’t done yours yet, here is a cool idea for recycled decorations). Tried to get a living one we could keep on the balcony until next year, but no such luck… This one smell gorgeous though.. yay!

Dec 18: Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a family revelation! Went over to west London today to see uncles and aunts for a delicious dinner.. Aunt G just finished writing the A-Z of Italian cookery (after 2 years – apparently the previous author had taken 20 and the editors were keen to keep her from doing the same thing!). Aunt J took her earrings from where they had been making up part of the Christmas tree decorations. Uncle F poured champagne and Uncle J said that in fact that our family name was a nonsense as his real great grandfather had… [family secret resulting in stony silences, changing of topic etc etc for the past 50 years] and in fact our name had come from my great great grandmother’s 3rd husband who had brought up the family as his own… Christmas wouldn’t be the same without stories like these.. :)

Later that afternoon was the annual Craft Club Christmas where the festive florentines made an appearance, as did fluffy kittens messing with our wool, home-made mince pies and mulled wine – yum!

Dec 19: Actionette offspring and Christmas dinner… Went to visit Sue and her baby F, Ssarah and her baby L along with M and her bump and S3! Stollen and mince pies were eaten in front of a mini glittery xmas tree and we played with the dolls, sorry, babies and took photos… It all felt most festive and prepared us for an evening of Actionette fun, listening to the fabulous DJ Wheelibag, eating pies, secret santa-ing Actionette style, and winning quality prizes (all from the Dalston pound shop!)

Dec 20: Guerilla Xmas. Some things to do instead of last minute shopping… Even better you could come to this tomorrow:

You are cordially invited to a public carol service in Parliament Square at 6pm on Wednesday the 21st of December 2005.
This inclusive service will contain both Christian and secular verse, and is expected to last no more than an hour.

Candles and song sheets will be made available, with donations going to Medical Aid for Iraqi Children.

Please note that if you attend this carol service, it will classify as a spontaneous demonstration (of faith, hope, joy and/or religious tolerance) and there is a possibility that you will be cautioned or arrested under Section 132 of the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005.


Carols in front of Parliament – breaking the law? Well maybe it isn’t – there were no police, we sang, thought of others, held candles, got cold, met R (though we missed the festive drinks as we had to cycle home). Felt proper Christmassy…

Dec 21: Bring back Toga the penguin! A baby Jackass penguin has been stolen from the Isle of Wight Zoo… he will die if he’s not returned soon; needing to be kept cool and only accepting food from it’s mother… :(

Dec 22: Bring a bottle and bauble! What a great idea from R of North London – her blog is amazing anyhow so read the rest of it too.

Dec 23: Last minute baking… Just had time to make this cranberry upside down cake (thanks Nigella) and use the cranberries that were bought on impulse earlier this week… Turned out well! :) Will wrap some and take it up on the train as part of our Christmas Eve picnic…

Dec 24: Christmas Eve train picnic. Went up to Wales to visit M’s family for a couple of days… Walks were walked up a mountain, and alongside waterfalls… The Cranberry cake was eaten (yum), presents opened, real ale drunk and news caught up on.. The ‘traditional family Christmas’ turned out to be had playing EyeToy on the Playstation with M, nephews and brother in law, watching Doctor Who save the world (again) and getting to fly the tardis after (yay! digital telly)

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