It is unlike The Mad House to dive headlong into Christmas, but I couldn’t resist this zinc advent calendar which is like a whole village of tiny mad houses – and actually that wasn’t why I chose it but now that I come to mention it…
Advent calendars are so much more sophisticated these days and I can’t imagine the 21st century child being happy to open a window and see a picture of a bell but perhaps they do exist. My children are, in theory, too old for advent calendars now although the 13yo always seems to contrive to agree to accompany his father shopping to M&S towards the end of November where he will go round the shop being so utterly charming and helpful that by the time they reach the check out where, extraordinarily, the chocolate advent calendars are displayed, his father is powerless to resist.
And actually I think there’s something properly treaty about being able to have a chocolate before school in those dark days of December so while they are technically too old, it hasn’t stopped them having them.
Years ago, when they were both Lego fiends we would spend a fortune on Lego advent calendars because they got something to keep at the end of it and that is where this rather lovely zinc one comes in.
You can just decant the contents of a box of chocolates into the 24 drawers, or you can put other little treasures in for them to discover.
My Grandmother had a beautiful chinoiserie box which was filled in turn with lots of smaller boxes in different shapes. As children we were never allowed to touch it but at the start of the holidays she would take it down off the shelf and we would be allowed to point to a box and see what was inside. She would move the contents around so that it was always different – sometimes a mother of pearl button, a handful of scarab beetles and pretty shells from summer holidays long past.
This calendar would work for that too. Outside of the advent season the 24 drawers is a bit random but it would be lovely to use as a place to gather tiny treasures over the year – two a month maybe. It would also serve as a memory jar. One of my clients told me about this – a huge glass jar in their kitchen and when they had a particularly great day, or something made them laugh or happy they would write it down on a piece of paper, fold it up and stick it in the jar.
Then, if anyone was feeling a bit down, or grumpy, they could stick their hand in the jar and instantly pull out a happy memory. I think it’s a lovely idea and one that would make good use of these drawers all year round.
In the meantime, you could fill with with tiny beauty samples for the make-up lover in your life, chocolate money for the aspiring tycoon or tiny toys – even some left over from Kinder eggs – for the little ones. The point is not that it has to have something terribly expensive in it, just that there is something that is a surprise. Obviously, for the squillionaires among you a different diamond for every day of the month probably wouldn’t make the recipient too cross but you get the idea.
It’s from Rowen and Wren and costs £62. What will you put in yours. I should add that they recommend using battery tealights rather than naked flames as there may be small people playing with it.