Advent Windows

It’s December. On the quiet residential streets off Cambridge’s Mill Road, fairy lights twinkle in the windows.

So far, so ordinary.

Look a little closer, though, and you’ll see that these fairy lights frame festive scenes: nine ladies – their skirts delicate paper snowflakes – dancing; children ice-skating, snow swirling around them; a scene from The Nutcracker with the Mouse King holding his sword aloft; reindeer flying above King’s College Chapel.

Some are so colourful they could give Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat a run for its money; others are simple yet striking. All have brought a smile to my face.

How did this tradition come about?

Back in 2016, Cavendish Road resident Liz Knox held a street party to get to know her neighbours. It was a roaring success and quickly became an annual tradition (though, for obvious reasons, it didn’t take place this year). Two years later, Liz had the idea of a street advent calendar. Participating houses would be given a number from 1 to 24, and each day in December a new advent window would be revealed.

Liz’s idea has since spread to other streets in the area, and on some it has proven so popular that there are more houses participating than there are days in advent. (On these streets, some numbers appear more than once and, more often than not, there’s an extra window on Christmas Day.)

Here’s a selection of my favourites:

I love the colours in these Christmas trees on St. Barnabus Road.
Platform 9¾ on St. Barnabus Road – genius!
Continuing along St. Barnabus Road: colourful candles.
On Lyndewode Road, two snowmen follow the Owl and the Pussycat out to sea.
A lone stag in a snowy forest, also on Lyndewode Road.
The Mouse King, poised for a duel with the Nutcracker, in a window on Lyndewode Road.
A final gem from Lyndewode Road: twelve robins flying high.
Hopping across Mill Road to Gwydir Street: two children skating on a pond.
Hats off to the occupants of this house on Gwydir Street for their origami skills (check out that ten-pointed star atop the tree).
Over on York Street, Rudolph pulls Santa’s sleigh over King’s College Chapel.
’11’ forms the antlers of this reindeer on Ainsworth Street.
On Ainsworth Street my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.
Best viewed in daylight, this window on Sedgwick Street gives a nod to David Bowie’s song ‘Life on Mars?’.
It’s two-in-one in this window on Brampton Road, which features a snowman for an ‘8’.
Last, but by no means least, is this rather lovely Christmas tree set against a swirly night sky à la Van Gogh on Vinery Road.

A belated Merry Christmas (or Joyeux Noël) to you all.

4 thoughts on “Advent Windows

  1. These are colorful AND gorgeous! I also love the pop-culture theme of the one for Harry Potter…I’d never heard of Advent windows (only stained-glass ones in churches), but they look worth a viewing, especially during the holiday season. Hope you had a lovely Christmas, and hope you have a great New Year, Rosie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re fab, aren’t they? ☺️ There was a great mix of traditional and modern creations – I also spotted one inspired by The Grinch, which was really colourful and fun. Definitely worth venturing out in the cold for them! It was a different Christmas, but lovely all the same. Hope you also had a restful festive break, and (a few hours in advance!) Happy New Year to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

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