I enjoy travelling far more than actually arriving at my destination. And so, for as long as I remember, I've enjoyed the countdown to Christmas much more than the actual event.
Our advent calendar was the most wonderful golden pop-up castle and we never grew tired of putting it away carefully with the other Christmas decorations and resurrecting it equally carefully the following year.
I still believe advent calendars are magic, illustrating the countdown to Christmas more vividly than any other measure or ritual. And - though I'm an unashamed chocoholic - I still love the traditional kind. Wooden advent calendars, fabric advent calendars or even cardboard pop-ups like our castle that are enjoyed for years and become part of our family's Christmas traditions.
Here are a few advent calendars that I would have loved to have as a child:
So, here's my little selection of favourites for this year and, as usual, I'm wishing I could have them all. Because, after all, advent calendars teach us to expect magical things of the times ahead ... I wish they were around for the rest of the year, too.