The start of December has arrived and whilst the 1st was a very busy day I've managed to put up the advent calendar and candle by the end of day two!
For me Christmas is a time for traditions. Gatherings of old friends, singing familiar songs and getting out the well loved decorations that have accumulated over the years. There are some traditions others might wish I let go. For example, each year I proudly hang my home made glitter bell decoration in the middle of our tree. The fact that it is now 20 years old (made by me aged 2) and very obviously a squashed egg box cup covered in PVA and (almost all fallen off) glitter doesn't occur to me but perhaps it's time that one stayed in the box.
Other traditions such as the beautiful cloth advent calendars me and my brother were given when little should definitely continue, even if we're not there to open them each day. This is my first advent not spent at home or in university accommodation so new traditions are being created. Instead of a throw away cardboard, plastic and chocolate advent calendar I'm using a cardboard fold out one from last year. Like our cloth ones at home a reusable cardboard calendar saves money, time and resources by avoiding buying new every 12 months. Saying that I was very tempted by the sprout one offered by Riverford, my veg box suppliers.
I think less people have advent candles at home than have advent calendars. Now out of university fire regulations I'm very happy to have a candle again. It's also a good excuse to have a little time each day when you don't use electricity. Whether it's sitting in the candle light relaxing with friends or lighting it to avoid putting the lights on for just a few more minutes at dusk.
Noticing and marking the seasons is important as it means we take notice of the world around us and hopefully think about our impact on that world. Advent's a good time for this as we watch the nights draw in and soon, always surprisingly soon, we'll be reaching the longest night.