One of the traditions in the house of Karin, is Advent, the counting down of days until Christmas. If you ask my husband, it starts on the Friday after Thanksgiving. That's when all the decorations come out of the garage and the house begins its transformation. The mantle, and stair rail are dressed in swag, the miniature village is arranged on a low bookcase; wreaths adorn doors, the grandfather clock and any other available surfaces are covered with various tchotchkes of the season. The 25-yr old tree parts are taken out of its box, which has miraculously held together with the help of bungee cords, and still look real, (allergies having put an end to any real trees long ago). However, after cooking and prepping for the Thanksgiving meal earlier in the week, I make myself scarce on Friday, leaving all the decorating to my honey and his mom. I'm more than happy to wait until Dec 1st to start my countdown.
In reality though, I start looking for goodies and future stocking stuffers back in October. That's when Trader Joe's usually puts out their chocolate advent calendars. In you aren't quick, they are often gone in a week. With all that's happened this year, and my adult children still at home, I upped my chocolate game. This year's calendars are from @costplusworldmarket. I usually like to get stocking stuffers from there, because they have an interesting selection of international food goods. Each of us likes something different, and it becomes a one-stop shopping experience...as long as I don't wait until the week before. It was....interesting. Don't ask.
The young adult members of the family aren't the only ones that enjoy their daily chocolate fix. The older set (Mom-in-law, hubby, & me) share a calendar. Even though we've had it for 15 years, the tree of boxes still delights us as each box is emptied of its chocolatey treat, and flipped to show another part of the picture. I got it on a whim, the Christmas after my Father-in-Law passed, to cheer us up on the anniversary and we've been refilling every year since.
The last bit of Advent nostalgia is the Nativity calendar. It was a gift from my parents when the kids were little. I think the "kids" still put it up, if just for the mild controversy it causes. After the holidays, the figures are stuffed in whatever pocket and in no particular order, as there is too much decoration to put away to worry about what figure goes where. So when the next year comes, Son #2 takes it upon himself to rearrange the figures into the order of the story. With each Advent day, the other participants will sometimes intentionally put a figure in an unlikely place; such as a cow in the sky, or a magi with the wrong colored present or camel. It's kinda funny to see what will happen next. No one gets upset, and Son #2 just puts it all back in order.
However we choose to pass the month, chocolate makes each day a little better.