Twelve Traditions of Christmas pt 2 – Christmas Lights and Advent Calendars

Christmas lights

As I mentioned in an earlier post December is my favourite month. I love the atmosphere surrounding the build up to the Big Day.  I prefer it to the day itself, maybe the anticipation appeals to my inner child!

Apart from the atmosphere I just love decorations, especially outdoor lights.  Spotting new ones certainly makes my bus journey to work and back a little more interesting!

It seems I have Thomas Edison to thank for lights during the festive period.  In 1880 he was responsible for the first ever Christmas light display which he lit around his laboratory, impressing rail commuters passing by!

Two years later Edward Johnson, who worked closely with Edison, attached eighty lights to a less than impressive Christmas tree at his home to great effect. Christmas lights gained popularity, by 1900 American apartment stores were using them to brighten up their seasonal displays and products.

Hanging christmas lights outside became an American tradition which, over the years, has now become popular tradition in Britain.  Some displays brighter and bigger than others which is not always good!

I have seen a few amazing big displays where you can look around a house or garden and give a small donation for charity.  Great idea!

Below are some pictures of my favourite lights in Cambridge.  I might add some more as I see new ones I like!

Lights on Guild Hall in Cambridge

Lights on a wet day!

The leisure park near my office has some lovely blue lights.  This picture was taken from my bus stop on a rainy day, beside a busy road.  It didn’t quite turn out how I wanted it but I still quite like it!  Will take a clear one and add it on here too.

Advent Calendars

Most calendars these days are filled with individual chocolates behind each door and probably have nothing to do with Christmas on them at all.  When I was a kid (now I sound old…oh dear!) the calendars were christmas related and had something related to the festive season behind each door.

Although the last calendar me and my brother had (we shared it) was a huge snow man-made out of some sort of material with 24 pockets. The pockets would hold whatever gift would be small enough to fit in each pocket, it was great!

In the name of research for this blog I have discovered some very lovely calendars.  I would love a wooden advent calendar like this one and also this one.  The second one appeals to me the most as I love anything with small drawers!

The original printed advent calendars were invented by a German called Gerhard Lang during the 1850’s.  He came up with the idea of printed calendars after being given cardboard versions with twenty-four candy canes attached to them.

Calendars with doors became popular at the beginning of the 20th century, anyone opening a door would find a bible verse, a christmas picture or small sweet behind it.

One of my colleagues is sending out an aural advent calendar via email.  Each day through December she is sending us a youtube link with a version of a Christmas song by some her favourite artists.

So far we have had versions of seasonal songs by artists such as Death Cab for Cutie, Badly Drawn Boy, Amy Winehouse, Wavve and Best Coast.  I think it’s a great idea, especially as I  have never heard of some of them!  I love finding new (to me) singers to listen to.

Here are three of my favourite links…

Death Cab for Cutie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4Yxq4QEkUE

Badly Drawn Boy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlgqFlZjQJQ

Best Coast and Wavves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OYBzktBJ0k

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About Maria Explores...

Blogger and Freelance Writer
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