Celebrate December with our Living Advent Calendar
Our fifth annual Living Advent Calendar is underway!
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 sometimes two!) is added every night, as the month goes on there are an increasing number of holiday windows to walk around and see each evening.
The online map of windows is available at tinyurl.com/EPNGwindows. Changes sometimes get made throughout the month, so please check the map before heading out!
While advent comes from a Christmas-celebrating tradition, we welcome all kinds of decorated windows: they could have a theme that ties in with any one of the traditional religious and cultural holidays that fall in or around December, or they could simply be something that brings light and joy to the darkest stretch of the year.
Be sure to visit the Living Advent Calendar in Guelph’s Junction Neighbourhood,too! You can find more information from their Facebook page here: JunctionNeighbourhoodGroup
Who can be a host?
If you live within walking distance of Exhibition Park and have a window that is visible from the sidewalk, you can be a host! We can also add hosts even as the project goes on, so it’s never too late to volunteer. If you would like to host a window in December 2018, please email Justine at j_dainard “at” hotmail.com.
What kind of decoration would I have to do?
You don’t have to be “the Martha Stewart of Mont Street” to decorate a window; have the kids go crazy with paper snowflakes, show us a funny Elf-on-the-Shelf scene, or fill your window with the ornaments your great-aunt gave you that never really fit anywhere else… You can also Google “Living Advent Calendar” for ideas from around the world.
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 seasonal 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 windows’ 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).