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York’s First Living Advent Calendar

A Living Advent Calendar will arrive in York this December, spreading festive cheer across the city. Inspired by the successful living Advent Calendars around the UK and Europe, Make It York has invited businesses around the city, 25 in total, to take part in this year’s festive initiative, supported by York Press.

Origins of the advent calendar as a concept date back to the 19th century, when religious families would draw a chalk line every day in December up until Christmas Eve. They became an overnight success in the early 1900’s when the first Christmas Advent Calendar was printed in Germany. The first Living Advent Calendar was started in the Old Town in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2005, and has crossed the water to become a modern day favourite among many cities around the UK and Europe.

Kate McMullen, Head of Tourism, Make It York, said, “Christmas is the season for giving and with this in mind, the festive trail will incorporate a competition to benefit a charity. Each business will approach their display in their own stylistic way and will compete to be voted ‘Best Living Advent Window’ by York Press readers. The winner will be announced after Christmas and will be awarded with a prize of £1000 to be donated to a charity of their choosing.”

You can look out for a festive window creation at and at www.facebook/visityork and between Christmas and New Year you’ll be able to vote for your favourite window scene.

James Ducker, Communications Manager, York Theatre Royal, said, “We’re thrilled to be part of the first York Living Advent Calendar and we hope we will be able to bring festive cheer to York residents and visitors alike, as well as making a contribution to a deserving cause. We’re under pressure to be ‘theatrical’ with our display so watch this space!”

Each York business has been allocated a reveal date for their festive scene and from 25 November all businesses taking part will hide their display with a window number (1-25), collectively making up York’s first ever Living Advent Calendar. The calendar will develop day by day until the final Living Calendar window is ‘opened’ on Christmas Day. Windows will open at the same time every day at 11 am.

Participating businesses will be spread right across the city including the Minster Quarter, Gillygate, Goodramgate, Walmgate and Micklegate. Make It York will be kicking off the competition on 1 December at 1 Museum Street and the Dean Court Hotel will be last to unveil their festive window on Christmas Day.

Andrew Sharp, Head of Business, Make It York, said, “This is a great opportunity for local businesses to get involved in York’s Christmas offer and to promote footfall in their area. Residents and visitors to York will be able to experience chocolatey, theatrical and photographic themed displays, among many more. We hope that the Living Advent Calendar will offer a unique and inspiring experience for everyone.”

The design of each window will remain a secret until the day it is unveiled. The emphasis of the initiative is to enhance York’s Christmas offer and to highlight the businesses participating. As happens on the continent, businesses could see crowds waiting for the big ‘reveal’ and participants can also incorporate their own promotions on the day, such as special offers, discounts or treats for customers.

A social media competition on Facebook will run alongside the initiative at Every day at 11am, a photo of the day’s festive window will be posted to the Visit York Facebook page. To take part in this competition from December 1 and to be entered into a prize draw, readers simply need to ‘Like’ the image. Prizes on offer each day will remain secret until the image of the window is revealed on the Facebook page, with a total of 25 prizes to give away.

To follow the festive fun on other social media platforms, the hash-tag is #YorkAdvent.

Businesses taking part in the Living Advent Calendar are:

1 Dec - Make It York
2 Dec - Lotte Inch Gallery
3 Dec - York Chocolate Story
4 Dec - W P Browns
5 Dec - Barley Hall
6 Dec - The York Press
7 Dec - York Theatre Royal
8 Dec - Give the Dog a Bone
9 Dec - Hunter Gee Holroyd
10 Dec - Chris Ceaser Photography
11 Dec - Pandora's Box
12 Dec - The Botanist
13 Dec - Letters Property Management Ltd
14 Dec – Azendi
15 Dec - Shambles Tavern
16 Dec - Plaskitt & Plaskitt
17 Dec - The York Makery
18 Dec - Café Luca
19 Dec - Bedern Hall
20 Dec - Walmgate Ale House and Bistro
21 Dec – The Principal York
22 Dec - Earl Grey Tea Rooms
23 Dec - Evil Eye Lounge
24 Dec - Missoula York
25 Dec - Best Western Plus Dean Court Hotel