Organise a living Advent calendar

A window display being revealed to a crowd of people.

Photo credit: Whitehall Park, London, Living Advent Calendar

Set aside the chocolate and take your Advent calendar experience to the next level with a Living Advent Calendar: unveil a new window display every night in Advent for some festive community cheer. Our friend Amy introduced us to this awesome idea after one of our team members stumbled into Amy's own Living Advent Calendar in Whitehall Park, London. You can read all about their story, but if you'd like to have a go yourself next Christmas, Amy has given us some simple tips to get you going.

The nice thing about this project is it doesn't take too much organising after the initial set up. With each house taking on the challenge of creating a festive window display, you'll all get great enjoyment at seeing what fun concepts people come up with. On Amy's street they've had Rudolph the reindeer, complete with a flashing red nose, an illuminated Christmas tree made entirely from Lego, and even the Northern Lights! 

Define your area

It’s important to be clear on the geographic boundaries for your project, otherwise it may become sprawling and unmanageable. Target a specific area, like your street or a clearly defined residential area. 

Recruit volunteers

A few months before December, hold a little get together to give people an introduction to the project and inspire them to get involved. Amy held a cheese and wine night; some good snacks are guaranteed to get you some willing volunteers! You'll need enough houses to get involved so you'll have a new window to unveil on every night of Advent. Read our tips on how to recruit volunteers here. Once you've got people involved, set up a Facebook group to share updates, news and create a sense of community around the project.

Identify partners

Think about who can help you get the word out. You could approach your local residents' association, a nearby church or school, or your council. Local businesses may also be willing to offer support.

Make a timetable and map

Once you know who is taking part, assign each home a day of Advent. Once this is done, it's a lovely idea to create a timetable and map that you can use to show people how your Living Advent Calendar will progress. This doesn't have to be fancy: roughly map out the area taking part, doodle some houses and label each one with the day of Advent they will be representing. You can print these off and ask volunteers to distribute them around the community.

Enjoy the displays

Going along to the different displays is the best bit of the project! Gather outside each display with some mulled wine and mince pies and take in the lovely windows. Make sure to take plenty of photos to share your experience with others. Post them on your Facebook group so you can keep everyone involved and enjoy looking back on how your Living Advent Calendar unfolded. 

Read Amy's story to see how amazingly their living Advent calendar went!