Lifesize Advent Calendars Are Bringing Joy To Local Villages

Community spirit is something city dwellers dream of when planning a move away from the hustle and bustle in the search for village-life. It comes in many forms, and at this time of year it is inevitably glittered with the spirit of Christmas.

A community art project which has gained popularity in recent years is real-life advent calendars. Local people are joining forces in aid of seasonal cheer to provide an advent calendar of windows throughout their villages as a collective countdown to Christmas day. The concept of the living Christmas calendar started in Sweden in 2005 and has gained popularity across Europe.

The idea is that volunteers are allocated a date in December, which is their night to unveil their advent window. They choose a visible window on their house to light up and decorate with festive embellishments for villagers to gather together and join in the unveiling of one house each evening.

Anna Fane of Sudbrooke was responsible for bringing this idea to her village last year, “I saw an article about one happening elsewhere and I just thought to myself why not here? Last year in Sudbrooke we had quite a bit of community effort that came together through the pandemic – we had teams picking up prescriptions for people, we had a thing going with one of the local farmers; because the catering industry had been put on stand-by the farmer had a whole lot of eggs they would normally sell into the catering industry that weren’t needed so we had what became ‘Egg Friday’… so we had a good community spirit thing happening and because we all knew that Christmas was going to be a little rubbish I just thought ‘what can we do to keep the togetherness going?’ particularly at a time when you’re much more behind closed doors.”

Welton are also welcoming the project back for the second year running. Ann Evans and Revd Jane Foster-Smith are the organisers on behalf of Churches Together Welton, and they were actually inspired by Anna’s Sudbrooke display, “When we saw the living advent calendar project, we thought it was perfect to launch in the pandemic” explains Jane, “this is a way of expressing togetherness, forgetting our differences and focusing on what unites us.”

This project is a fantastic way of bringing people together – not only do you get your own enjoyment from decorating your window, but you also get enjoyment from knowing that your window has played its part in something fantastic. As Jane explains, “Togetherness is about how we try to make the community a really lovely place for everybody to live and we are all really important in that – if we can all just do our little bit, it can contribute to something really magnificent.”

Surrounding villages such as Cherry Willingham and Dunholme have also joined in the real-life advent calendar fun, so be sure to check in your local area to avoid missing out on the festive cheer. If there isn’t one in your village this year, could you be the one to coordinate it next year?