29 November 2020 – Advent Sunday

It’s the fourth Sunday before Christmas, so welcome to the beginning of Advent, otherwise known as Advent Sunday. And as any self-respecting child of the 70s knows, that can only mean one thing: the Blue Peter Advent Crown. Advent Crowns are the old Advent calendars but without the gin miniatures. And every year, Blue Peter would fill our screens with a demonstration of how make one out of wire coat hangers and tinsel, and it would be an understatement to say I have been just a little bit excited to make one all year. 

Reader, never meet your heroes.

Joining me again today were Sarah and Robert (still in his dino onesie). Over Zoom we assembled our equipment and suffered momentary bauble envy over the other’s centre piece ornament.

It was supposed to be so easy, after all John Noakes had been doing it for the kids, hadn’t he? 

First up was clipping off the hook from one of the coat hangers. However, the only wire hangers I could find were covered in a weird bondage-like black latex and were super study. My tiny pliers weren’t having any of it. On my screen, Robert had put on his safety goggles as Sarah wrestled with hers. I turned to bending and worrying the metal, finally managing to snap the hook off. Next came wiring the two hangers together to form the upper cross. Well, we started with wire, then ditched it for LX tape. So much less faff.

I have to take responsibility for the candle holders The instructions said to use the lids off salad cream jars (it was the 70s), but that would have either taken a lot of forward planning or a lot of unused salad cream, so I’d suggested using mince pie foil trays instead. Fatal mistake. Far too flimsy. 

Tinsel was next to undo us, as we undid it again and again trying unsuccessfully to wrap it round the frame. I blame 1970s tinsel, it was thin and weedy, so much more malleable, not like today’s bushy feather boa wannabes. Luckily, Robert used maths to find our wrapping solution. 

Long, swearing, tantrum-filled story short, Sarah shouted ‘I HATE TINSEL’, and I had the final mince pie having lost the will.

But eventually, we both finished our Advent Crowns, see if you can spot the difference. Here’s the original:

And here are ours:

Identical, no? 

Unlike an Advent calendar which gets opened every day, one candle on an Advent crown is lit every Sunday on the way to Christmas:

And here’s one I made earlier:

I’ll get my coat.


The Everyday Lore Project has been running since St Distaff’s Day on 7 January 2020 and will run until 12th Night on 6 January 2021. So between now and then, there’ll be a lot of Christmas shenanigans going on. If you have any traditions or rituals I can try, please let me know (Christmas related or not). And if you feel so inclined, subscribe to the last 38 posts of the project and get a daily dose of folklore straight to you inbox. Otherwise you might miss the next three thrilling videos of a candle being lit.

Resources

Chambers, R. (ed) (2004) The Book of Days, A Miscellany of POPULAR ANTIQUITIES in connection with THE CALENDAR including, ANECDOTE, BIOGRAPHY, & HISTORY CURIOSITIES of LITERATURE and ODDITIES of HUMAN LIFE and CHARACTER,  Edinburgh, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd

Hannan, J. (Editorial Director) (2018) Here’s One I Made Earlier, Classic Blue Peter Makes, London, Kyle Books

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5 Comments

  1. John Littler
    29 November 2020
    Reply

    This was a made up tradition in an obscure Ch.4 Comedy, “Fist of Fun” which carries a strong brexit portent and is very funny:

    Shrewsbury Pie Pie Day:

    • 29 November 2020
      Reply

      That was very funny! I might, however give the pie pie a miss…

  2. Glorious Barbara
    30 November 2020
    Reply

    Good lord! You’ve managed to create Ludo in advent crown form! Seriously, have a look at a picture of Ludo and then immediately look at your advent crown. There is literally NO difference!

  3. Glorious Barbara
    30 November 2020
    Reply

    🙂

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