Living Advent Calendar 2016

Celebrate December with our Living Advent Calendar!

Sample Advent WindowOur third annual Living Advent Calendar is about to begin!

To find our most up-to-date map of windows, please see our Google Map.

We will also host a walking group at some point in December — follow us on Facebook so you don’t miss any details!

What is the Living Advent Calendar?

From December 1st to Dec 24th, a decorated window in a neighbourhood home will be lit for the first time.  Each window stays lit every night (usually between 5-11pm) from its first reveal until New Year’s Eve.  Because a new window (or two!) is added every night, as the month goes on there are an increasing number of holiday windows to walk around as see each evening.

Can I be a host?

Yes, we can add hosts even as the project goes on.  If you would like to host a window this year, please email Justine at j_dainard “at”

What kind of decoration would I have to do?

We invite you to create anything that makes the winter night joyful — the only rules are to display your number (i.e. the date of the first night you lit it, as assigned.  This makes it feel like an advent calendar), and to keep it lit every night from your reveal until New Year’s Eve. While advent does come from a Christian tradition, we invite you to celebrate a holiday from any religion or culture, or Solstice, or a favourite story or song, or just the simple beauty of lights sparkling on a winter’s night.

You can also use any art medium, and any level of talent!  You could use coloured tissue, paint, toys, candy, lights, cardboard figures, tape, cellophane, fabric, greenery, etc.  It’s a good idea to try your window out one night before your reveal, to test the level of lighting needed to illuminate your display — sometimes an exterior spotlight works best, sometimes back-lighting works best.

Do I have to use my main picture window?

No, any window that is visible from the sidewalk is fine.  We’ve had second- and third-story windows used in past, and sometimes front doors are the most effective.  Even a garage window or door that is easily visible from the sidewalk would work.

What if I go away during the holidays?

If you are planning on being away between your first reveal and New Years, please leave you window illumination on a timer, or arrange with a neighbour to turn it on every night. In years past we have had a few accidentally ‘dark’ windows, which is such a disappointment for families who have planned to walk the window routes that evening.

Where did this idea come from?

We were inspired by Hamilton’s Living Advent, which in turn was inspired by villages in Europe such as Saltaire and Stockholm.  It is an idea that takes on local flavour, but in all cases brings neighbours together and inspires winter walks.  We are pleased to be part of what we hope will become a beloved tradition, and encourage other neighbourhoods to create their own.  Some press on one of our past years: a Guelph Mercury article about EPNG’s Living Advent Calendar — Advent calendar has come a long way since I was a kid, by Deirdre Healey (Dec 3, 2014).