29 November 2010

What's an advent calendar?

OK, so maybe the post title is a little exaggerated, but I don't think I've ever done an advent calendar.  (Is "advent" supposed to be capitalized? see... there's so much I don't know.)  Perhaps I remember decorations from my past that were calendar-ish, where each day had a door that revealed a picture behind it? As you can see, they had a profound impact on my life. But, I have to say, it is interesting to read what you all are doing!

Our countdown to Christmas is going to be a little different from normal this year.  We aren't following many of the traditions we have in the past, mainly because we will be out of the country. In exactly 19 days we are getting on a plane and flying to Morocco!  We will spend Christmas day riding camels in the Sahara Desert (I can hardly believe it) and will spend the night in nomad tents in the dunes.

I am completely thrilled about this trip, but I do find that giving up a traditional Christmas has been a little harder than I anticipated.  We will be eating couscous and drinking mint tea rather than sugar cookies and eggnog.  I'd like to come up with a few traditions we can bring along with us, so to speak - do you guys have any suggestions?  I've thought about reading the christmas story from the bible while we sit around the fire in the desert.  We don't have room to pack any gifts, so that's pretty much out. But the trip itself is a huge gift, and we will be with (some) family (my husband, parents and brother) so really, what more could I ask for.


Meagan said...

Wow, I think it is even better. I mean think about it, It may not have been Morocco, but the shepards were out in the wilderness sleeping in nomad tents when the angels came to announce the birth.... and Mary rode the camel (or mule) across the plains at nine months pregnant... I think maybe that is more what Christmas is about....

At the same time I can understand how "going against the flow" is very hard to do.

In answer to your questions, Advent calendars are used to countdown the time till Christmas, some are real spiritual and are the events leading up to Christmas, others are simply a how many days left till Christmas. I find that they are primarily used with kids too young to know how long till Christmas without visual help.

Marie said...

I think Meagan has a good point. And I am really excited for you that you get to go on a trip like that! That kind of environment is so different from the US that it almost doesn't seem real. To me anyway. Just be careful! My mom went to Morocco and her tour guide made a big deal about the crime there.

Grandma said...

How exciting that you're going to Morocco - good as long as you're with a tour b/c the tour guide is right - there's a lot of crime there. My sister and I went with a tour just for a day back in '94 and it was a neat yet slightly harrowing experience - very different there. We tried to dress modestly, covered except for head & hands in respect to their culture. I was embarrassed by the people who came in tank tops & minishorts. To think you'll be camping out & of all the things you'll be doing! A portable advent calendar would be nice, one you could roll up and tie each night. And perhaps you could take turns in your group leading one Christmas song a night. Have fun!