At Home,  Gifts

Advent Calendars & an Invitation


Meri Meri

Rifle Paper


Meri Meri

Simon Coll

Pictured above, a few Advent calendars I noticed this year. Number 6 is a link to Walmart, highly irregular! But it is a Spanish chocolatier and I was so taken with the illustration with brown-skinned people (unfortunately rare in American nativity illustrations). It’s hard to see clearly in the photo, but Walmart is the only online retailer I found carrying it in the United States. And yes, the Vosges one is $145 but yes they are one of American’s finest chocolatiers. And female-owned!

I have such affection for Advent Calendars. I love looking up all the options, in particular the ones with edible gifts, or useful ones like pencils or paperclips, or ones with just bits of paper.

(By the way, I’ve never seen the Present and Correct paperclip calendar available, it must sell out November 1st, but I take such joy from their web shop anyway.)

I think the parameters of the thing make it so delightful: 24 days. An object usually made of paper, and boxes. Numbers scattered, scribbled, or hidden, or clear. Something to open.

For my family in the past I have done a Book Advent calendar. (Ultimately I’ve found that I’m not one for the book advent calendar. I like it when we can read all the books, all month long.) And we always do chocolate advent calendars for each girl. However I’ve avoided “Experiences” Advent calendars in the past because our calendar is often brimming with commitments and I’m unwilling to add to the expectations.

Not this year though.

So this year I am considering the experience Advent calendar. Perhaps I’d even write it up with the girls alongside me, and then shuffle the bits of paper into envelopes (like Erin’s). I’d like to include a few outward facing things–in the manner of the rainbow-in-the-window of early pandemic days. We don’t own a giant yard-nativity scene. But something like that. A wooden star in the yard, strung with lights?

And other things we can do on our own…Light keeps coming to mind. Ice lanterns. A movie, together in the dark. Fill a bird feeder. Make cookies. Surprise a neighbor with a cookie box. Make more cookies. Patch a hole. Build a fire.

and an invitation for you: Looking back at photographs from the previous season can be so encouraging. I’d like to invite you to email me a photograph from a previous Advent that you’ll be able to do this year. Something at home? Something left on a friend’s stoop? Just an evening when the light was right? I’ll gather them all up and post them together to inspire us. Please include your social media handle if you’d like me to share it. Please include a one or two sentence caption, if you like. Email written in a wonky manner to discourage bots: Rachael(.)Ringenberg(@)gmail(.)com.

One Comment

  • Alli Horst

    I love this post. I find myself needing Advent to start a bit earlier this year. I just bought Advent blocks ( to do as a family each night. And, with some hindsight, am planning to pair the evening reading with the kids’ chocolate advent calendars. The adults of the house just did a special trip to Trader Joe’s to get 24 single cans of all varieties (Moscow mules, seasonal IPA’s) to add our own evening tasting to the advent readings.

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