Friday, December 01, 2006

Let the countdown begin

There is a great air of excitement in our house this morning.

The 1st of December means the start of the Christmas countdown.

When Sarah was tiny I had a friend with twins 18months older than my daughter. We would get together as part of a small coffee morning group each week at each others houses. In the run up to Sarah's first Christmas I was round there for coffee and spied the gorgeous perpetual advent calendar her mum had made for the girls. 24 little pockets each with a little decoration to hang on a stitched tree.

I decided to copy her idea the following year and the red wall hanging you see here was the result. Looking at it now there are lots of things I'd do differently - I knew little about patchwork and quilting and even less about applique then. But it comes out in our house every 1st December to start the countdown for Christmas.

Subsequently I purchased a couple of beautiful books which opened up to reveal 24 little books to hang on your Christmas tree and they gradually tell their story day by day. One tells the Christmas Nativity, the other the Nutcracker ballet.

Reading the blogs of some of you girls in the States I notice you start to put up your Christmas decorations straight after Thanksgiving. So you could hang up your little books on your tree - however, in our house, the Christmas decorations and tree don't see the light of day until at most a week or ten days before the 25th so I had nowhere for these little books to hang.

So I put together another wallhanging to take them all - the snow fabric is leftover from my sister's wedding dress and the sequins on it are from the leftovers from my wedding dress. The navy night sky is from the bridesmaids dress I made for my friend's wedding.

In addition to this we also have an ever increasing collection of Christmas books that we've gathered over the years - I do try and add at least one each year - some are very babyish from when they were tiny, others more grown up. The book box also emerges from the loft with the advent calendars and they all go away with the decorations when we strip the house in the New Year. The kids (that's both big and small) love to look through and revisit old favourites. I guess this has become a tradition in our house and I hope it will continue down through the generations with their children eventually.

It always feels like a real voyage of discovery all over again when these things all come out again each year

I have to say it's the only time our kids are allowed to stand on the sofa!!!


quiltpixie said...

I too have an advent tree -- in fact a whole advent box of decorations. They come out on the first Sunday of advent, the tree and box marked "chhristmas" on the fourth sunday, right before Christmas... Now that my DS is older (15-16) we often don't mark either season very carefully -- the advent stuff will come out when it comes out, but it was an important part of December for many years.

Pam said...

I have a quilted tree wallhanging that I made 30 years ago...I hang it each year just to remind me of how far I have come since first beginning to quilt.

Your advent calendar and your "wedding dress" wallhanging are wonderful.

Dawn said...

I made a tree you hang ornaments on like that when I was a teenager. My mom still has it - I think! Thanks for sharing all your Christmas traditions with us!

Libby said...

I have a pattern for an advent wall hanging -- I really need to have it on the to-do list for next year. It's such a nice tradition.

Patti said...

What a wonderful tradition! And how neat that you have things from your wedding and bridesmaids dresses as part of the little book hanging. You've just given me a great idea of gifts to get for both my daughter and daughter-in-law, as well as something to make for the grandchildren as soon as they are old enough.

Fiona said...

I like the satin fabric on the 'book' advent calendar - you will have to post a picture when all the books are hanging on it.

Lois R. said...

I love the advent calendars! We had several when I was a kid. That was always such a thrill when it was time for the advent calendar - Christmas can't be far away! Thanks for the Christmas memory!

I'm in the "no tree until a week - 10 days before Christmas" camp too. When I lived at home with my parents, my Dad insisted that the tree didn't go up until Christmas eve!

May Britt said...

It is so great with traditions. The adventcalender is so nice. My DD is 18 and she still wants her calender.

Marcie said...

How clever you are to find a use for the wedding leftovers! They look perfect. And I love all those little books. They will really be meaningful to read each day. Great idea!

Lily said...

Ah yes I had great plans of making an advent calendar for Romily but just ran out of time this year. She's still really too little to understand anything about Christmas, so I guess I have a year's grace!

I love that you used such luxe fabrics for your wallhanging!

Carrie said...

I have a countdown tree too, and I love it! Although I'll admit I didn't make it LOL

Great job! God bless :)