December 1 is here already, and that means (among the Christmas “traditionalists” at least) it’s time to break out the Advent calendar! If you’re unfamiliar, Wikipedia’s intro is a good description:
An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas. The days often overlap with the Christian season of Advent. Despite the name, most commercially available Advent calendars begin on December 1, regardless of when Advent begins, which can be as early as November 27 and as late as December 3. Many take the form of a large rectangular card with “windows” of which there are usually 24: one for each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. One is opened every day leading up to Christmas. The calendar windows open to reveal an image, poem, a portion of a story (such as the story of the Nativity of Jesus) or a small gift, such as a toy or a chocolate item. Some calendars are strictly religious, whereas others are secular in content.
An Advent calendar has been traditional in my family, although we’ve never had the chocolate variety but instead a clever hand-crafted type made out of felt that we use every year: it’s in the design of a Christmas tree, with 24 pockets at the bottom, one for each day leading to Christmas Eve, and inside each pocket is an “ornament” to hang on the “tree.” Something akin to this:
Of course each year the “ornaments” in the pockets are mixed up so it’s a surprise each day. One of my favorite Christmas traditions.
So it’s no surprise that I would of course, come up with the idea to have a beer Advent calendar, and long-time readers of this blog already know where this is heading! Wayyyy back in 2005 (!) I started my annual blog-based Beer Advent Calendar, where each day from December 1st through the 24th I would “reveal” a Christmas-themed beer for the day. As far as I know, I was the first one to do anything like this (though I’m sure people have had the idea with real-world analogues like this one) and it’s become my own fun blog tradition to do this every year (and one of my favorite blogging activities).
A couple of years I invited a number of other beer bloggers and writers to participate and that was great fun and something I’ll definitely do again, though it takes a bit of organization and this year has kind of gotten away from me in that area; and some year I’d really love to organize some sort of real-world Beer Advent Calendar to coincide with my blog one—a series of tastings, perhaps, or even Beer Advent gift packs containing the beer for the day to match the blog (after all, a case of beer holds 24 as well—coincidence?). That would be fun!
Maybe some year. This year however, the first is already here and I’m queuing up the first of this year’s Beer Advent Calendar picks (and still selecting more, so I’m in a bit of “catch up” mode). I’ll have today’s up shortly!
In the meantime, if you see any other beer-themed Advent calendars (particularly real-world ones) let me know, I’m always interested in seeing neat new ones!