Our Margherita shares some thoughts…...
Since Carolina came into our lives, many things have changed. My husband's first thought when he gets up in the morning, for example, is not to take a shower but to prepare breakfast for everyone; the living room has been converted to a area for maneuvering small wooden vehicles / surface to make puzzles / running track; I changed shape, job and shoe size.
Last year, for the first time in my life, I felt the urge to create an advent calendar.
But who exactly “arrives”? Someone will ask.
Regardless of the religious aspect, in our family we experience Christmas as a precious moment of recollection in which to stop, thank the people we love and be together. In this particular year, "being together" will not be taken for granted, so we will try to devote even more energy to meaningful rituals and gestures so that the closeness is not just physical. The advent calendar seems to me a good starting point.
How to make an advent calendar?
If, like me, you struggle every time something is thrown away when it could still have a purpose, the best solution is definitely to start with recycled objects and materials. Last year, for example, I used the toilet paper cardboard rolls: I filled 25 of them with different sweets and closed them with the scraps of the wrapping paper that I use for the Tilla packs. Then I overlapped them to form a Christmas tree and I closed them with a ribbon, which was also recovered from some dusty old corner of the past. Anyone who has a little spirit of observation will notice from the photo that there are two numbers reversed, because all of this was done with the favor of darkness on a Friday night, with the drooping eyelid typical of an exhausted parent.
Online you can easily find many similar ideas for a do-it-yourself advent calendar with recycled materials, and you’ll see paper is certainly one of the most popular solutions. If you have some time / patience and would like to try your hand at the business, among our free resources you will find the numbers to print if you don't feel like writing them by hand. Using a DIY paper calendar such as toilet paper rolls with a little care, you can even keep everything to rearrange and reuse it the following year. The only caution? Start a little early to keep the rolls aside and, if possible, check that the days are in the right order!
What alternatives are there to a candy calendar?
Personally, I have not yet decided what I will do this year, but I know I am particularly fond of the version with a sweet a day because I suffered of a lack of advent calendars at a young age, I discovered them on a playdate with a middle school classmate: it was a Kinder calendar, every day of December a little window was opened and a chocolate was found. I was very envious of it, so it came naturally to me to propose this variant to my daughter. It must be said that the first time I made it she was two and a half years old, before it would not have been adequate or appreciated: until recently, in fact, she did not show particular interest in chocolate and sweets. She still prefers cheese.
There are, however, several alternative possibilities for an advent calendar without sweets. An idea that I overheard by chance and liked a lot is that of a story a day, also suitable for very young children and for those who prefer to avoid sugar. For older children, the stories could become positive thoughts written on small cards (you can even slip them into the rolls of the DIY advent calendar in the shape of a tree made from toilet paper rolls!), or food for thought to share with the family. In fact, Christmas can also be a great opportunity to re-connect to one's values and share them with the people we love most.
Can you buy an advent calendar?
Yes of course! Not everyone has fun with DIY and sometimes time is running out, but don't worry because there are fantastic solutions on the market. My favorite advent calendars are usually made of paper or wood: especially since you will spend some money on it, I suggest you choose a calendar that you can use for many years, evaluate the environmental impact of the materials it is made of and, why not, look for artisanal solutions that support local businesses!
Whether you experience Christmas as a religious celebration, or as a moment of meditation, or if you are more interested in holidays than the rest, this year will probably be different for you too. A famous proverb says that when life gives you lemons, it's time to make lemonade - this year the toilet paper rolls for the advent calendar could make a lot more sense than last December!