Thursday, 1 December 2011

An Advent apple

April may be the cruelest month, but for younger daughter, November is the loooongest month, with little to break it up but Remembrance Day which isn't even a school holiday in Ontario. Last Friday, she came home from school and rustled around furtively in her DVD collection. I heard Christmas music and realized that she had noted that it was a month until Christmas and it is now permissible to break out the holiday movies. For someone with memory challenges and a radically different sense of time than the rest of us mortals, this was huge.

This morning, to younger daughter's intense relief, the Advent calendars came out: the permanent one that we set up in the living room, with books to be read aloud, then hung on the Christmas tree (when we set that up a week before Christmas); an online one this year sent to us by an Albertan cousin; tiny Christmas-card-size ones sent by Demeter, and the morning ritual of opening the large cardboard ones, in our bedrooms.

As a child, my very favourite Advent calendars were the ones where the doors opened to show what was happening behind; a meal being cooked in a kitchen, an animal hiding a present under a bush. I haven't seen those kinds in years, although this December I have a very traditional German calendar with rabbits and hedgehogs exchanging gifts under a brilliantly lit woodland tree and huge double-doors for Christmas Eve which will almost certainly reveal the Holy Family in the stable. Door Number One was an apple, which seems appropriately Lutheran somehow. (A casserole, perhaps, for American Lutherans?)

My shopping is only partially finished, and when I think ahead to the extra cooking and cleaning, I could almost wish November back -- except when I see the glow from the corner where younger daughter is. These are the most precious days of the year, a month when she is truly happy. When December ends, we will have to let go of Christmas to allow it to return. However, for her sake, and hers alone, I would keep Christmas all year if I could.

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