One of my childhood delights was the annual advent calendar my mother would purchase. Made of cardboard decorated with a winter holiday picture or themes, it would have little flaps numbered from 1 through 24. Those numbers represented December 1st through 24th. Starting on December 1st, one of my siblings or I would be allowed to find and open the flap for that day. Behind the flap might be an image or a saying. (Many years later I discovered that fancier, more upscale advent calendars might have a piece of chocolate behind them, or a tiny plastic toy. Even fancier ones exist as well, made of wood or cloth, that can be reused year after year.)
I haven’t had an advent calendar in many years, but this year a friend of mine sent me a software advent calendar that is thoroughly charming and delightful. From JacquieLawson.com, an English company, the calendar sits as an animated snowglobe on your desktop. Each day, you can enlarge it to enter an English country village to see what new thing is going on in preparation for Christmas. Locations in the village are numbered, and you click on the number for the corresponding day. The location expands into an animation with holiday music, after which you see the entire village again, only this time with activity continuing at the location you clicked. Of course, you can view the village any time, and enlarge the location and re-view the animation any time as well.
The best part of this is that the advent calendar is incredibly affordable. If you just purchase one, it is only US$3; the enjoyment I am getting out of this gift is all out of proportion to such a tiny price. The price goes down by 25 cents with each additional one you purchase; at 5 or more, the price is only US$2. I highly recommend this calendar as an inexpensive and yet thoroughly delightful way to share your joy in this holiday season with family and friends.
JacquieLawson.com also has an animated greeting card service that is similarly very inexpensive; you can send birthday or other greeting cards, or even schedule cards to be sent days, weeks, or even months from now. You can have JacquieLawson.com send you a reminder to send a card.
(In case you are wondering, I am not affiliated with JacquieLawson.com in any way; I am simply sharing my enjoyment and enthusiasm for this gift so others can know about it as well. It is a sad thing to me that so many people create blogs for the sole purpose of “recommending” something for which they are being paid. My blog is not like that. If I ever do recommend something for which I might receive a fee, such as a book at Amazon.com, I will tell you so. Even then, be assured I have never recommended something, and never will. unless I truly and sincerely think it is something worth recommending.)