I grew up with those advent calendar filled with waxy, barely edible chocolates. It didn't matter anyway because my mom never let me eat the candy. It was all about the ritual of scanning the scene, locating the correct number, and opening the door for the day. I loved seeing the shape of the chocolate. But, again, I never ate it. Still, it's a holiday tradition that I adore. Who doesn't like a daily surprise counting down to Christmas?!
So, when the boys were smaller, I would wrap 25 Christmas books (I used the same books every year!) and each evening we'd unwrap one, cuddle on the couch and read together. I would also pick up two of those same cheap chocolate advent calendars. I think the chocolate has gotten better. And I did let them eat it.
But, after they outgrew the board books and picture books, I searched for other ways to count the days. One year my mom and I bought D a LEGO advent calendar; I found an advent candle that R loved to light at dinner each evening.
Then I saw cheese advent calendars and whiskey calendars. Those only shipped in the United Kingdom. Seriously?! I thought I could make my own. I might still do the cheese advent one of these years. But I saw a tea advent calendar and decided to do it myself.
I hoped online and went to Adagio Teas because I knew they sold sample sizes. And I picked 25 kinds of tea that sounded intriging - everything from Jade Oolong to Yunnan Golden Curl and Thai Chai to Chestnut tea.
A funny side story: last weekend, D and Jake went to Cost Plus and came home with an already made tea advent calendar! Sometimes it's frightening how in tune with me that kid is. "Mom," he gushed, "I knew you would like this tea advent!" Oh, I will. But I have everything to make our own tea advent.
So, yesterday, D and I spread out all the bags, formed the tiny square boxes, filled small bags, and created our very own tea advent.
Each morning, in December, until Christmas, we'll take a box from the garland, open it up, read about the tea, and brew a pot to drink over breakfast.
I'm looking forward to trying all the teas. And we have more of each since the sample were much larger than I anticipated.
Does your family have an advent calendar tradition? What's inside??