Advent, the traditional run-up to Christmas, has been celebrated for centuries. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christmas. The phrase originates from the Latin word ‘coming’.
In Eastern Christianity, it is called the ‘Nativity Fast’ and for many people it is an opportunity to cut back on treats and make sacrifices ahead of the celebration of Christmas.
Like all other aspects of Christmas, however, it has been commercialised and the four weeks before Christmas are now punctuated with the turning on of Christmas Lights, Black Friday events, Winter Wonderlands popping up all over and of course, Advent Calendars.
Traditional Advent Calendars consisted of a picture of the nativity with little doors representing the 24 days before Christmas. Each door revealed a little expectation of what is to come at Christmas; holly, candles, carol singers, etc.
More recently, advent calendars have started to have a little gift behind each door such as a chocolate or sweet, for those who are unable to wait until Christmas.
Over the years, advent calendars have become more and more extravagant including the Porsche Advent calendar at £1 million with 30 Porsche designed gadgets but no car!
A whiskey advent calendar with a miniature bottle of scotch in each window seems extravagant and not good for you and a pet advent calendar, with doggy treats, seems another indulgence.
So it was good to read the other day about a reverse advent calendar. This involves filling an empty box each day of advent with an item that would help the homeless and hungry and donating the calendar on Christmas Eve to a worthy cause.
In many respects, that is what our students have been doing this year.
We have a great tradition of collecting for charity and almost every school day during advent, there have been students’ busy raising money for charity such as the Romanian Shoeboxes, bake sales, inverted advent calendar and a sponsored run around the track.
Running throughout all of this is the work that Woodcote is doing with the Purley Food Hub. Each day, students and staff have been bringing in donations of dried and tinned food as well as other items such as nappies, deodorant and shampoo.
These gifts were placed under our ‘Giving Tree’ at our annual Christmas Concert on 7th December 2017 and will go a huge way to helping local people who are going without this Christmas.
Like the theme of our concert, this is the true spirit of Christmas.
May I wish everyone best wishes for Christmas and 2018.