Advent calendars are big in Vienna — they’re in many shop windows:  card shops, paper shops, toy stores, candy stores, book stores — even one tobacco shop seems to sell them.  Everyone seems to sell Advent calendars this time of year.  I’ve always loved them.  I have very fond memories from when I was younger of sitting on the floor of the Cricket Book Shopin Ashton and selecting my very favorite.  As I was about so many things (pumpkins, Christmas trees, Easter eggs) I was very particular (I always liked it best if the pictures in the windows told some sort of story, or were related to the exterior of the advent calendar — like opening up windows onto a scene inside of a house, rather than just random pictures of cute Christmas things) so the process of selecting one took a while, and I would secretly lament that I couldn’t bring home several.  Now that I’m a mom, I get to do just that . . . one for Benjamin, one for Liam and one for me (and Dan can share, too)!

The Rathaus (city hall) here apparently decorates one of its actual windows every day of advent — I can’t wait to take the boys over to check that out each day.  It’ll be like a real life advent calendar!

I sent my parents and siblings Advent calendar Christmas cards this year, so we could all open them together, even though we’re far apart.  I’m really excited about this tradition — familiar for me, new for my boys, shared with my family, and different here in Vienna.  It’s almost time, and we’re all looking forward to it.

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