I remember so well that when my first child was in college, how she dreaded the last six weeks of the semester. She knew that in those weeks were papers due and exams to study for and to take. And all the while she did the hardest work of the term, we were home shopping, decorating the house, making Christmas cookies and generally cranking up the excitement. As I cranked up the AOL, I tried to think of a way for her to feel closer to home.
I hit upon the idea of an Advent basket, a variation of an advent calendar, with one item to be opened and enjoyed for each day from the day she returned after Thanksgiving until the day she came home. The gifts, mostly quite modest, were a hit. The basket idea stuck with us, through the next 3 children as well. But now, youngest child is about to graduate, and I have made my last basket. I’m writing this last, probably maybe, post to immortalize what was 13 years of holiday fun for all of us.
A list of some of the items that have made it into the Advent Baskets.
Room decorations (window stickers, Advent Calendars)
Small Nativity scene
Christmas fuzzy socks
Christmas tie (for boys)
Christmas music (CD)
Classic Christmas video
Hot Chocolate, Apple Cider mix
Starbucks gift card
Cute small Christmas-themed book
Christmas boxers (for boys)
Christmas print undies (for girls)
Christmas themed earrings, bracelet
Harry and David’s Moose Munch
Any other food you can think of
Holiday coffee mug
Package of cute Christmas cards and stamps
Soft winter scarf
Holiday shaped or scented bath soaps, hand creams
Framed holiday pictures from childhood
Empty holiday-themed frames
Santa or elf hat
I don’t include candles because most dorms don’t allow them.
What has gone in the basket has changed over time. Early baskets held VHS Christmas movies. Later ones had DVDs. This year’s featured no movies. Why? Digital streaming. Netflix replaces the need for videos. The same for Christmas music. We went from CDs to I-Tunes cards to… no music. Thank music streaming apps for that. But I’ve also learned to get some of the little treats at after Christmas sales each year (not food or drink).
The packages also look fancier now than in the beginning thanks to adopting the clear wrap like that used for Easter Baskets, and using treat bags for the various items. Let me know or post pictures of your basket if you are inspired to make an Advent Basket.