T.J. Masters
Passionately Writing Passion

Advent Calendar 2016

Advent Calendar: Day Twenty Three

In my dim and distant teaching past we briefly had a young lad in our school nursery who grew into a fine young man of great talent. Whether it was playing football, modelling or sharing his great musical talents, Tyler Rix carved out a name for himself and continues to impress all who have come to know him. Tyler recently recorded this cover for Christmas and introduces it with his own words:

“Less than a month until Christmas!! Thought I’d record a little something for you guys to listen to whilst wrapping those presents & snuggling up by the tree. Big up Nick Beecroft on guitar. Photo by Francesca Trampleasure. Please share, like & subscribe for more videos..”

You really should listen and look Tyler up on YouTube and on his website: http://www.tylerrixofficial.com

For a quick catch up with Tyler here is an interview from a couple of years ago.

Advent Calendar: Day Nineteen

The Advent/Christmas wreath.



Wreaths can be seen in many different settings and contexts. During the season of Advent wreaths can be found on tables or the heads of maidens. These become the base for candles which are lit one by one on each Advent Sunday.


On St Lucy’s Day candle bearing wreaths form crowns on the heads of girls re-imagining the saint. Once the wreath is mounted on a door it becomes known as a Christmas wreath and comes in all variety of size or design.

Traditionally a wreath is an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs, moss or various materials that are woven together to resemble a ring. Wreaths have a good deal of history and symbolism associated with them. They are usually made from evergreens and symbolize strength since evergreens last even throughout the harshest winters. Of course these days many Christmas wreaths are also made from artificial materials.


Advent Calendar: Day Eighteen

The Jolabokaflod.

In Iceland there exists a wonderful Christmas tradition, which which binds literary and holiday pleasures into a single marvelous event on Christmas Eve.

The majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas. Icelanders give books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spend the night reading, even taking the book to bed to continue the joy. This custom has become deeply embedded in the culture and the buying season is known as the Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood,”

At this time of year, most households receive an free annual catalogue of newly published books called the Bokatidindi. This is one free catalogue that everyone scrutinises while they choose which ones they want to buy.

The small Nordic island, with it’s population of only 329,000 people, is extraordinarily literary. The country has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world. Icelanders love to read and write and one in ten of them will publish a book.

The book in Iceland is such an enormous gift that you always pass on a physical book rather than an e-book since there is more value placed on physical, paper books than in many other countries. The global publishing industry runs on the pattern of a few people buying lots of books. In Iceland however the pattern is one of the majority of people buying several books each year.

For those of us who love books and reading, this sounds like a wonderful tradition that ought to be more widely known and embraced. Could there be any more peaceful way to relax after all the days of preparation than to curl up with a good book and a comforting drink while all around you are doing exactly the same.

Advent Calendar: Day Seventeen


In the story Dear Santa, Dear Dad, One of the scenes takes place in the village church on Christmas Eve. Steven goes along to carol service where he is amazed at how welcoming everyone is towards him and how much his son and the boy’s lover have been welcomed into the community. Part way through the evening he is amazed when his son’s lover gets up to sing an emotional solo performance of the much loved Christmas song O Holy Night. As one of my all time favourites it was an easy choice to include in the story.