Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Advent calendars - and the last day of NaBloPoMo

On the last day of November every year I hang a faded purple velvet advent calendar in the kitchen and fill the 24 pockets with sweets. My daughter’s at university now and at 17 my son thinks advent calendars are babyish, but tough, I’m still doing it. And he’ll happily gobble up the sweets before he leaves for school every morning.

I’m not particularly keen on tradition most of the year but Christmas is different. At Christmas, tradition rules. I love searching out the decorations (I buy a new one each year so they now amount to an eccentric medley of hearts, stars, papier maché baubles, twinkling lights and tin snowmen), putting the tree up in time for my daughter’s birthday on the 13th and playing carols at top volume as I wrap presents. I never write lists and with 24 days to go my office floor is already a tangled mess of presents, wrapping paper and parcels that I ordered on-line but can’t for the life of me remember who for.

But in amongst the chaos, today feels extra special. Why? Because it's the last day of National Blog Posting Month – or NaBloPoMo for short.

The first NaBloPoMo took place in 2006 when an American blogger called M. Kennedy decided there should be a blogging equivalent of National Novel Writing Month. The idea took off in a flash and is now held without fail every November.

I'm not sure how I got involved but all I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. The main thing I’ve discovered from the experience is that blogging every day is an awful lot harder than it looks. But from blogging boot camp to the mums who wear pyjamas at the school gate, I’ve somehow managed it - and made lots of NaBloPoMo friends along the way.

PS. This Saturday should have been the day my husband and two friends set off on the annual Tour de Trigs challenge, a gruelling 24-hour orienteering hike through the wilds of the Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire countryside. For 46 years it’s been held every December – when the days are short, the temperatures are freezing and the fields are at their muddiest. But sadly we’ve just heard the event has run its course and won’t be taking place any more. A look of bewilderment crossed my husband’s face when he heard the news. “I don’t know whether to be sad or relieved,” he said.

PPS. If you’re still looking for an advent calendar this Caroline Gardner one (above) is the prettiest I’ve seen. My son isn’t impressed because it doesn’t have chocolates inside but I'd rather have it than a Top Gear one any day.

21 comments:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS on getting to the end of the massively demanding tour de force you set yourself. Every blog has been a five star blog. I've really enjoyed reading these snippets of your life, past and present, and your thoughts.

    Liz X

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  2. I don't know how you cope with no lists at Christmas...I think I'd have had a heart attack through stress by now if I didn't make lists!! :)
    Mind you, I make lists for everything. I have so many excel sheets some people might wonder if I have some kind of problem!

    Well done on making it through NaBloPoMo :) xx

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  3. Thank you so much for your kind words, Liz. I so so appreciate all the support and encouragement you've given me!

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  4. You've made me think maybe I should start using lists, Shell Louise. At the moment I just keep it all in my head. And there's also another problem. I'm hopeless with Excel!

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  5. Congratulations on achieving your goal. I too, have done NaBloPoMo and there's been times it's been a LOOOOONG month. But it's also been a lot of fun as well. Well done.

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  6. Congratulations to you too, Shambolic Living. Such a long month but now it's done I think I enjoyed it!

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  7. It has been hectic but that's kind of the way I live my life anyway.

    Like you, everything is in my head although I envy those who make lists but I never seems to get that organised.

    Love the advent calender!

    Congratulations on reaching the end!

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  8. agree - tradition at christmas is important, it makes it special.
    well done for getting to the end - and now relax.
    what a shame about the walk - the things we put ourselves through.

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  9. You're a star. I might feel like it next year, but I doubt it!

    I sent the Bodleian Advent calendar to Oz for family and my son said thank heavens there is not chocolate. Guess it causes arguments. I love this one and your idea of recycling one.

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  10. Thank you very much, Sarah. Comments like yours kept me going all the way through the challenge. I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't bother with lists at Christmas too!

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  11. Congratulations to you too, Gemma. And I agree that tradition at Christmas definitely makes it extra-special.

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  12. Thanks so much, Jackie. You should definitely give it a go next year! I love your blog. The Bodleian advent calendar sounds lovely - I should have taken a look.

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  13. Whoo-hoo! NaBloPoMo was wonderful -- my first year -- I've found so many new voices to enjoy, especially yours!

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  14. Thank you so much, CrumpetsinCamelot. It was my first year too and I'm so glad I got involved. I love your blog too!

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  15. OMG there's a Top Gear Advent Calendar? You have to be kidding.... please tell me you're kidding!

    Well done getting to the end of Nablopomo - I reckon we'll all be taking a day or two off now ;-) Fiona

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  16. Well done! I'm in awe of you posting every day - I know I wouldn't have been able to.

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  17. Thanks Fiona. Congratulations to you too. Were you tempted by the December challenge? Re the Top Gear advent calandar, my son had one a few years back though I must admit I haven't seen one this year!

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  18. Thank you so much, Emily. I feel I haven't got any more blog inspiration in my head right now!!

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  19. Interesting and so lovely that you too have a traditional advent calendar that comes out every year. We've had ours for 16 years, since my son was born and even my youngest daughter at eight years old delights in hanging it up and filling the pockets with sweets. In stark contrast my daughter's friends chastized her advent calendar this week , because they had five and six calendars each. Sad that some families have no idea of tradition and that children get so much and are brought up to value so little. Love your posts!

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  20. It's lovely to hear that you have a traditional one too, Michelle. I bought mine at a shop in Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire years ago and it comes out every year!

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