I love the smell of hot spiced wine, Christmas baking, kitschy Christmas decorations, tons of snow and snowball fights. While I transform into a seasonal alcohol addict over Christmas who sees cookies as a staple food, I am usually too lazy to decorate our apartment. Therefore I reduce them to their essentials, like for example a super small Christmas tree with only few ornaments and no other decoration at all. I tend to stick with the really important things, cookies and hot spiced wine.

Just joking! Apart from cookies, hot spiced wine and snow, the thing I am most excited about Christmas is to have my own self-made Advent calendar. Every year, I love to think hard about the design and the fillings, and start to work on it in the middle of November so it is finished until November 30th. And yesterday, I finally finished my 2015 Edition.

adventcalendar01What is an Advent calendar? It’s a calendar which begins on December 1st and ends on December 24th, Christmas Eve, the day we celebrate Christmas here in Austria. (Or at least the people who celebrate Christmas.) They come in many different layouts, with many different themes, and most common might be the ones filled with small chocolates which you can buy at every grocery store. And it seems like Advent calendars filled with small toys became more popular the last few years. Luckily, DIY Advent calendars got even more popular and it is now much easier to find material in many stores.

While I am super excited, Mr. Panda does not care much about Christmas, as he never really celebrated before he started dating me. I just ‘interviewed’ him while writing my post, with new secrets revealed!

“Have you ever had an Advent calendar before we started dating?”

“Well… no.”

“Have you ever even celebrated Christmas before we started dating?”

He shrugged “Yes, somehow. Like, you know, China-style. We go out and eat lots of food. But that’s all. So not really Christmas I think.”

I looked surprised. “So… I actually FORCED you to celebrate Christmas with me?”

He tried to put my mind at ease. “No it’s ok, as long as I can spend time with you. I also love your parents, and it is lots fun every year.”

At least it looks like he can be lured with tasty food, presents, and lots of cozy free time.

Since last year, we always had Advent calendars with small chocolate pieces in it. But last year, we (I) switched the concept in the spur of the moment. One night in November last year we were lying in bed, and I was feeling really down as my day was horrible. I asked Mr. Panda to make me a compliment to cheer me up a little.

“Uhmmm…. I love you!?”

I stared at him. “No, I want you to compliment me!”

He desperately tried to come up with something. “I love that… you cook for me every day?”

“Are you serious? You can’t say anything nice to me right now? Anything that you like about me or what I am good at?”

“That’s not so easy to come up with anything in such a short time, let me thing a little about it!”

While I told him like ten things I liked about him, we (I) came up with the idea to change our standard chocolate Advent calender to a ‘compliment calendar’. We (I) decided what each of us should write little compliments or lovely messages for the other on little pieces of paper, one for every day until Christmas. So they would make us remember how much we love each other at one of the most stressful time of the year. And that I could just reread them if I was feeling insecure and needed to hear something nice.

My nice little messages for Mr. Panda

Both our notes along with a small piece of candy are filled into one of the white bags, which were made with the help of my awesome friend. To keep in shape (mostly me), paper bags and red envelopes take turns. As they are too small and thin, red envelopes only contain two notes, one for me and one for Mr. Panda.

On December 6th we celebrate Saint Nicholas, but bad Pandas who can’t compliment their lovely girlfriends will be punished by the Krampus.

This year my friend helped me so much with the design. She drew lovely pandas and kitties to make this year’s Advent calendar much more personal.




Do you have any pre-Christmas habits (you force on your partner)?

Countdown to Christmas
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17 thoughts on “Countdown to Christmas

  • December 2, 2015 at 0:14

    Those are adorable! Had an advent calendar growing up, but I had to share with four siblings. So I only got to open a window every four days. Sucked. Then I got even more siblings. Oh, yay.

    I have been hinting at Andy that he should get me the Vosages Chocolate advent calendar for years. But he’s like Mr. Panda — he only celebrates because I force him to! So I think he gets kind of passive aggressive about buying presents…

    • December 2, 2015 at 0:45

      Well I’ve been dropping hints for birthday/Christmas presents since a month now, but he still didn’t get them I think. Let’s see what Mr. “Romantic like a sandwich” will get me this year. He isn’t talented when it comes to gifting. 🙁

      I really love Christmas, and if he loves me, he should do like he loves Christmas too hehe. 😀

  • December 2, 2015 at 0:59

    ‘Your butt is the nicest’ is a great turn on. A pair of flabby cheeks just don’t cut it.

  • December 2, 2015 at 5:05

    That’s an excellent idea for an Advent calendar.

    My family usually comes to my house for Christmas. When they do, I put up a Christmas tree and decorate the house. This year we’re all going to my youngest daughter’s house on the other side of the country, so I won’t do any decorations in my house.

    Every year the 36 houses in my neighborhood have a Christmas party. We buy gifts for people in need. Then the day before the party, we wrap the gifts and decorate the clubhouse.

    • December 2, 2015 at 10:35

      Maybe I also don’t decorate much because we always celebrate at my parent’s house. It’s sounds nice to also celebrate with neighbors and do something for people in need. I also will get something for the animal shelter in my hometown.
      And I hope you have a great Christmas over at your daughter’s 🙂

  • December 2, 2015 at 13:38

    Thumbs up to your interview with Mr Panda. If you ask the similar questions to me I would probably say the same. I guess I didn’t have a ‘proper’ Christmas in a traditional sense before going out with my wife. (i.e. advent calendar, going to church, christmas turkey queen speech etc) I’m glad I have a chance to experience things like these.

    Likewise, my wife wouldn’t have experienced Chinese new year either if we weren’t together.

    So (virtual) high fives to the intercultural couples out there for having the privilege to experience your partner’s festivas and celebrations.

    • December 2, 2015 at 15:28

      Double the cultures, double the fun and food it seems 😀

  • December 3, 2015 at 9:43

    That calendar is so cute! We don’t have advent calendars in Spain, but I think the tradition is coming from other countries, as I have seen advent calendars sold in recent years.

    I don’t even celebrate Christmas in China. No decorations or anything, haha. There’s just no holiday mood, as we have to work on the 25th.

    • December 3, 2015 at 14:58

      Thank you! I think Advent calendars are more common in Middle and Northern Europe.

      As for Christmas in China, I know that they don’t celebrate it. But I am always baffled about the kitschy decorations in Hong Kong. They take it to a new level.

      • December 4, 2015 at 3:50

        Well, even though it is not really celebrated in China, the malls usually put Christmas decorations… it is another excuse to make people spend money! Young couples normally go out to have dinner in Christmas and the restaurants are all fully booked…

  • December 9, 2015 at 14:37

    I don’t have any realy Christmas habbits. Sure I enjoy a nice chocolate Advent Calendar but thats about it. My wife is much more into Christmas than me even though she never celebrated it until we got together!

    • December 9, 2015 at 17:00

      I think that women care for such things more in general. Mr. Panda also does not care for Chinese holidays, but I do. 😀

  • March 11, 2016 at 20:47

    Oh wow! I never done an advent calendar before! It sounds very interesting

    • March 11, 2016 at 22:22

      I think it’s a Middle European thing. They are fun, and if you make one by yourself you can decide on what you want to put in. I got nail polish from myself on my birthday for example. 😀


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