The year 2020 was a year of counting. In the spring we counted the days of quarantine, in the summer we counted the number of feet between friends during socially distanced socializing, in the fall we counted ballots. Why not end the year on that theme with perhaps the most fun counting of all: an Advent calendar. Yes, this is of Christian origin (after all, it counts down the days from December 1 to Christ’s birth on Christmas Eve) but it has morphed (as many Judeo-Christian holiday traditions do) into a delightful commercial enterprise that transcends its religious roots.
When I was growing up, Advent calendars tended to be two layers of cardboard with perforated windows that revealed an illustration each day with the really fancy ones hiding foil-wrapped pieces of milk chocolate. Fast forward 25 years, and you can find an Advent calendar that delivers you everything from a handful of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans or a jade or tiger’s eye bead! Thank goodness there are 24 days of Christmas and not just 12!