Advent Calendars

From last December, a batch of seven online Advent Calendars of varying quality, but all quite different from each other. Here they all are. Something for everyone who still enjoys the day-to-day door-opening treat that these things bring.

First, and probably most fun, here's something quite different from the rest. This is the story of JT Agapanthus & the Black Cat Blues, a whimsical tale told with illustration and a little bit of Flash animation, by Penelope Schenk. It's the latest in a series that she started back in 1995, about the adventures of Tate the cat. You cannot peek ahead, so there's a genuine anticipation to see just how the story will evolve. Very charming - I highly recommend it.

Next, here's a wonderful jamming session of illustrating talent, put together by PenelopeIllustration, who runs the weekly participation Illustration Friday. This is a project from 2004, with each day's bauble leading to a different illustrator's contribution. A great idea, and great fun. Well recommended.

This Medieval Advent Calendar is much more interesting. Each day you get a detail from a painting, and medieval Christmas stories, legends and images from the Middle Ages. A fascinating feast of art and information, you never know quite what to expect from day to day, but essentially you get to visit a diverse array of websites on Nativity and folklore themes. Recommended. Located at New York Carver.

Instead, how about this delightful wealth-of-information from the Woodlands Junior School in Kent. Each day, discover some fascinating facts about how Christmas is celebrated in countries around the World. The red flowers on the right are from a Pohutokawa, the New Zealand Christmas tree. This calendar looks quite unassuming at first, but it's another recommended.

Then there's this Finnish gnome calendar, cute and folksy with charming pictures in the style you can see on the left. The doors only become available as the days go by, which prevents any temptation to peek early. It's from Virtual Finland.

A couple of others, maybe also-rans compared to the five above, but horses for courses.

There's a simple tree shaped calendar at apmethodist.org with photos of traditional German Christmas tree ornaments. A bit unexciting, and the pictures are too small. But there's a bit here to read about the history of advent calendars.

This old-fashioned looking item is a bit more sedate and predictable. Jigsaw puzzles, jokes, Christmas carols and Christmas facts. Find it at North-pole.co.uk, where you can email a letter to Santa too. Too mainstream and tacky looking for me.

If you have discovered any other noteworthy Advent eCalendars, then drop a comment, I'd love to know about it.