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 advent calendars. 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
DIY advent calendars - those you fill yourself - are always popular, and in the last few years, mystery advent calendars, chocolate advent calendars, sock advent calendars, and even crystal advent calendars have joined the lineup. Fillable advent calendars are both economical and wonderfully personal.
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.
Return from Countdown to Christmas to the Christmas in England page to find out about more of our traditions.