Tasha Tudor had a natural gift of making holidays and celebrations magical for her family, friends and loved ones. One way she made Christmas such a joyful time was building up anticipation long before the day. Today we’ll share Tasha’s tradition of creating Advent Calendars.
Take Joy: The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book
Tasha’s 1966 book Take Joy: The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book includes songs, stories, poems and things to do for a family Christmas. It is now out-of-print, but is one of the most beloved books and was in print so long, there are many, many used copies to be found if you simply look.
Tasha Tudor's Advent Calendar Tradition
On page 136, the book mentions “By October it is time for Tasha to start to draw her yearly Advent calendar. Each year, taking turns, one of the children chooses the subject for the calendar, which Tasha Tudor will make. Perhaps it will be a cozy village of field mice: numbered doors and windows open, one for each day of Advent, to reveal the mice at their winter activities. One may be sleeping, with a tiny red-and-white stocking cap on his head; another reading a book; another trimming a Christmas tree; still another rocking a baby mouse in a little wooden cradle. Another year the calendar may be about the pre-Christmas doings in Corgiville, a village inhabited, of course, by Welsh corgi dogs. The new calendar occupies a place of honor on the wall of the living room, but all the calendars from previous years are also hung up on the first day of Advent.”
St. Nicholas' Birthday
“St. Nicholas’ birthday, December 6th*, is the real beginning of the Christmas season for the Tudors, as it is for many families not only in this country but also in Holland, France and England. Tasha says, ‘A lot happens on this special day at tea time. The morning has been spent in setting up the creche and decorating the winter kitchen. The old Noah’s Ark and its inmates are set up on the long mantle. The Advent wreath is hung and it is time for tea. Now the Christmas cake is cut and the prettiest cookies are brought out. How beautiful it all looks--the curtained stage for the marionette show at one end of the room, the logs burning peacefully in the great fireplace, the fragrant greens, the lovely shadows of the Advent wreath and its ribbons on the ceiling, the creche with its candles lighting the nativity scene.’
Make Your Own Advent Calendar
Try your hand at making your own Advent Calendar. You'll need two pieces of paper. The simplest version is to use a print or any image printed on card stock weight paper. Find the proper number of appropriate places that would make good doors. Number them. Cut three-sided doors. Open all doors and trace those shapes onto your second piece of paper. Draw your own images or use stickers on the second piece of paper. Affix the two papers together and you have your very own Advent Calendar! Find more detailed instructions on making your own Advent Calendar here!
Advent Calendars Available in our Online Shop
We have three Christmas Advent Calendars for sale in our online shop. Christmas Festivities, pictured above, has doors 1-25. The other two, Post Office and Candy Shop, have doors 6-24. Many folks order these to give as gifts during Thanksgiving celebrations.
*Every time we mention that Tasha celebrated December 6th as St. Nicholas' birthday, someone invariably points out that December 6th is the day St. Nicholas died. We can't account for the discrepancy other than to say Tasha artistry knew no bounds.