Tails From the Vienna Woods



Counting Down to Christmas 2017

The 5th annual edition opens with what has become a perennial favorite. Because how else to count the days until Jesus’ birth than with a cold one?

Continue reading “Counting Down to Christmas 2017”

Counting Down to Christmas 2016

My annual look at the unusual ways in which the Viennese count down the days until Christmas.

Continue reading “Counting Down to Christmas 2016”

Counting Down to Christmas 2015

It is once again that time of year when Anna Grace and I feed our mini-addiction to daily tiny presents as we countdown the days until Christmas. 
Two perennial favorite calendars have made the cut once again in our home.
In the stores there are calendars for all interests. This year, a competitor to the Stiegl Beer Advent Calendar!  Now there are two ways to enjoy a cold one while counting the days until Jesus’ birth!
Sparkling Sect more your style?  Schlumberger, purveyor of the bubbly to the Habsburgs and now to the common Viennese, can give you that holiday glow every day. For a whopping €99!
For the teetotalers, the Kleiner Klopfer, 24 small bottles of sugary beverages to keep one hopped up well into 2016.

“Glam” seems to be a popular theme this year in calendars. There are 24 Days of Glam for little girls…

…and for we big girls, 24 Irresistible French Surprises! I can not wait for 1 December!

One final calendar, a new entry this year. From sweet to sour to spicy, 24 delicious ways from Staud’s, a Vienna purveyor of preserves and compotes since 1883, to countdown to Christmas. 
I’ll report back on whether everything sweet or spicy was naughty or nice. 😉

Counting Down to Christmas 2014

By this third edition of advent calendar posts (previous years are here and here) I thought it would be difficult to find new styles to share. But, no.
The concept of counting the days until Christmas, I have learned, dates only to the 19th century. Early “calendars” included Advent candles, one lit for each day; the first paper calendar was printed either in 1902 (so say the Germans) or 1903 (so say the Austrians).
Along my district’s shopping street, Döblinger Haupstraße I spied this display of beautiful and traditional paper calendars.
There are “specialty” calendars, as well, for those who snack, those who bake and garden, and for those for whom a new lotion, potion, or notion each morning means Chrismas is nearer.

How are we going to count down the days until Christmas?  In previous years the morning tea from Sonnentor was a favorite, but this year we are branching out with the new offering from Teekanne.

For our equestrienne, the calendars have a certain theme. Let’s just say the new Schleich Pferde will have no difficulty making friends in Anna Grace’s room.

A perennial favorite in our house since it was first made in 1998 is the Lego Advent Calendar. This year is no different, and by Christmas Eve a little Lego city will be built across the fireplace mantel, just in time for Santa’s arrival.

And finally, what’s not to like about a sweet bite of chocolate each morning as a countdown to Christmas?

Counting Down to Christmas 2013

Though we are three days into Advent, it is not really too late to catch up on the countdown to Christmas.  Sure, there’s plenty of chocolate and paper calendars to choose from, but why not go for creative?

“Adventskalender für Hunde.” A small chewie for each Sunday in Advent, and a plush Tannenbaum to shred on Christmas Eve. I know a certain Foxhound who is excited about this calendar.

Let your favorite absorbent and yellow and porous sea friend help you count the days! (Curiously, the calendar, purchased in Vienna, is printed in English and Galician, a dialect of northwest Spain. Even more interesting is that it was selling faster than the Kinder calendars. Then again, who doesn’t like Sponge Bob?)
And my personal favorite. What better way to count down the days until Jesus’ birth than with a cold one?

Counting Down to Christmas 2012

A recent trip to the grocery store, in my car, turned up a bumper crop of ways to count down the days until Christmas.  This is by no means the complete inventory, just those calendars I could inconspicuously snap with my iPhone.

A Viennese classic.

Over the fall break we paid a visit to the Manner Factory Store and pretty much overloaded our shopping basket with wafers, mints, caramels, and chocolates. It was an awesome good time.

In the chocolate category, another classic. Even at their ages, our children have yet to tire of the simple pleasure of a Kinder Egg.

Another Manner entry. There’s a lot to digest on this calendar, isn’t there?
You can never go wrong with Swiss chocolate.
Or Swiss-Austrian Milka, conveniently sized as a tabletop calendar. Notice how pretty it looks on my tabletop?
And, for the homesick Americans.

There were calendars for those who prefer to play as they count down the days until Christmas, as well.

“Bob the Baumeister”

 A certain daughter in our house has been eyeing this calendar for the last couple of weeks.
Until this one came along.
Nothing like a few mini-explosions to help you count down the days until Christmas.

PlayMobil has a big presence here, no surprise.

This one gets my vote for Most Original. Lancome helps you count down the days until Christmas with a daily dose of your favorite lotion, potion, or notion.
And finally, this has nothing at all to do with Advent. Austrians love their hedgehogs (who doesn’t?)  The Igel population is becoming endangered by development in Austria, however, so an ingenious entrepreneur devised the “Igelhaus”as a way to help nurture the population of Austria’s natural regulator of lower life forms.  There are even hedgehog rescue stations where you can take a weak or sick foundling, and most veterinarians will treat a hedgehog in need for free. Of course I want to put a bunch of these houses in our backyard, but Cletus would probably consider the little Igel to be a chewie, and that would not exactly help the Igel population thrive.


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