Things I love – Advent Calendars

Well, I don’t know if you all realise, as I don’t think it’s something that is observed much in the UK, but this Sunday is the 1st of Advent you guys!

And in case you are unsure what that is all about, it’s basically the 4 Sundays before Christmas even are usually referred to as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Advent, and in other words – it’s the start of Christmas this Sunday!

I will probably go into a bit more detail about advent and how we celebrate it next week, once the 1st one is over, because I will hopefully have some pics then and the flat will be somewhat decorated.

But it leads me to another topic, and the fact that next Monday is 1st of December. Time to talk about advent calendars!

Calendars have been a big part of my Christmas since I was a kid.  In Norway, it is common to have a “pakke kalender” which means a gift calendar – a small gift each day from the 1st to 24th December to open in the morning. Of course, with regards to this specific tradition my mum pulled the “but we aren’t Norwegians” card and therefore got away with not providing each of her 4 children with 24 little gifts to open before Christmas. I can’t say I blame her – that is a lot of extra stuff to buy on top of the regular Christmas shopping after all! But, you know, my parents had a knack of always turning this “we arent norwegians” “we dont live in Sweden” thing to their advantage depending on the situation. Funny that.

One year I remember we had one though, where they had quite cleverly taken a puzzle and divided the pieces into 24 packages and each sibling took turn in opening one, completing the puzzle on Christmas Eve. I think that was a great idea to be honest! But at the time, I was probably grumpy about not getting 24 little gifts like “all my friends had”.

We also had these in school where each kid brought in one gift for the calendar, and then we had a draw as to who got to open a present each day. Kind of like a secret santa. It came in handy that we were actually 24 kids in my class though, not sure how it would have worked otherwise!

Another tradition with calendars is the children’s TV (and radio) calendar. A Christmas mystery or story in 24 parts that played out over the month of December until it all came together on Christmas eve. Of course with an accompanying paper calendar! Norwegian and Swedish television both have these, but I have to admit I much prefer the Swedish version, where they have a new story / theme every year, whereas in Norway they used to alternate between two or three different ones. I have some really good memories from when I was a kid that we always sat down at 18.15 to watch the evening’s episode, and there were some awesome stories in my days .I may have bought some of them on dvd.


This one is “Tomtemaskinen”, which was shown in 1993 and one of my all time favourites; Clearly you can see Mr. Pettson was before his time and had the funky hat look down way before Pharrell.

I try and keep up and watch the Swedish calendar on tv each year as I can watch it on the internet now, but it isn’t quite the same as when I lived at home.

Then of course it was the beloved chocolate calendar, where lets face it, the chocolate didn’t really taste that great, but you still longed for that piece and just the thought that the chocolate in number 24 was twice the size compared to the other ones! I don’t buy myself these any more because I just end up eating all the chocolates in one go and the magic kind of disappears

These days I only have one calendar, and it’s been the same ever since I moved away from home – my mum sends me an old fashioned paper calendar with cute drawings. Also known (to us anyway) as a “glitter calendar” and today I received mine for this year! Of course, this calendar has to stay with me at work, as it is not allowed near the flat due to a certain husbands phobia of glitter (yes it’s a thing – I am not allowed any glitter in the flat and this is actually a little bit upsetting to me, especially round Christmas!)

So the flat may not be ready and decorated yet, there may be loads of shopping to do and food to plan, but for calendars this year – I am all sorted!


Do you have any sort of traditions with regards to advent calendars? And do you observe advent Sundays in any sort of way?

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17 Responses to Things I love – Advent Calendars

  1. bevchen says:

    One year, my sister and I ate all the chocolates from our advent calendars on something like the 3rd of December. We got in so much trouble!!

    I think only Catholics celebrate advent Sundays in the UK. It is a thing in Germany, but we don’t do anything for it – and as far as I can tell, everyone who know that does do something just lights a candle, drinks tea and eats Christmas biscuits… which I do basically every day in the run up to Christmas anyway 😉


    • haha eat biscuits, light a candle and drink tea is pretty much what we do as well for advent. But hardly anyone I know in the UK never even knew about advent when I moved here. I guess for me it is (or was, as it’s more of a childhood thing) the whole countdown to christmas with the candles – only 2 more candles to go etc!


  2. I think advent is a religious event in the UK for sure. But most of the kids I know (and me) do advent calendars, with the cheap chocolates behind the doors.x


    • It is a religious thing in Scandinavia too, however I think it’s more widely acknowledged in a “non-religious” way during the run up to christmas in Scandinavia. But then again, that could just be within my circles. My family was never very religious, it would be interesting to speak to someone religious in Norway / Sweden and see what they did for advent and see how it differed from my experiences


  3. kristen says:

    it’s mainly a chocolate thing at home, lol. we weren’t really allowed them growing up because we couldn’t just eat one chocolate a day!


    • Normally I would have been the same, but my brother was so good at saving his and I didnt want to be in the position of him having chocolate an me none, so I stuck to the schedule! Most of the time anyway


  4. Kerri says:

    You know your parents were genius’s right? The next step would be to buy the gifts and keep them for themselves!
    We never did advent calendars as children, we never had any traditions really. My mum would always wrap all the presents early and they would be under the tree probably the day before Christmas eve, so there wasn’t any Father Christmas for us either!


    • oh yeah I figured that out when I realised exactly why I had my own christmas tree in my room where “all the childrens decorations could be displayed” – it was just mums way of saying “dafuq there is no way in hell that thing is gonna hang on my christmas tree, dawg!”

      well in our house santa actually comes to visit in person on christmas eve to deliver christmas presents and speak to the children. I remember it as being pretty scary, and santa spoke differently depending on who played him that year. Usually he had a weird plastic mask too. Many years later I found my mums santa list. I am just glad I figured out way earlier that santa wasnt real, otherwise that discovery would have been a real bail in the coffin for sure!


  5. I am all about the chocolate advent calenders, my boss just bought each of us in the office one and Carls mum is also buying me one. Seeing as I am going to Australia on the 12th I think I will scoff my face with the remainder then!


  6. Too much chocolate is bad for you sarah – you should send one my way!


  7. Cynthia says:

    I never really got into advent calendars until I spent a holiday season in Germany several years ago and now I simply must have one every year. I always buy the 20kc ($1) cheapos at the discount store but now I wonder if this year is the year to go classier. I just recently purchased an Advent Candle, not like the normal ones, just a long candle that has 24 “notches” so you can burn it every day…. I’m a sucker for things like this 🙂


  8. I love advent calendars too!! I just wrote a post about my favourite ones for this year, in fact. So interesting to hear your experiences of them in Norway – love that your school did it, although yes, would be a bit awkward if there weren’t 24 children!


  9. Holly says:

    Awww, I love glitter!! I have always had chocolate calendars, that is why I wanted something more simplistic as I grew older and purchased a reusable calendar. I love the picture calendars too, we always had one for our clas in school.


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