While there’s no shortage of advent countdown calendars in stores,Stacy Schwab decided she wanted to go big and bring something hands-on for kids in the community.
The Bridesburg resident is coordinating the Bridesburg Christmas Countdown, which began on Dec. 1 and will end on Christmas.
“I’m just trying to do something for the kids in the neighborhood while we’re staying at home,” she said. “I tried to think how this could be interactive, but still be safe. And, I thought why not do something like the Advent calendar and they would have something to look forward to each day.”
Similar to the Advent calendars that traditionally reveal a small trinket or chocolate each day until Dec. 25, the Bridesburg Christmas Calendar also reveals a surprise each day, albeit, via social media.
“Every night, it’s something different, and I’m going to announce it on Facebook in the morning,” Schwab said. “The same way you would open an Advent calendar, you can go click the event and see what address it is you can go to.”
Schawb asks that people like the particular post if they plan to participate so volunteers can plan accordingly.
Social distancing guidelines are strongly encouraged including wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of distance.
Schwab called on volunteers from the neighborhood to offer an activity or snack at their house for one night, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Bridesburg Christmas Countdown comes on the heels of Schwab’s Halloween Scavenger Hunt that provided residents clues about holiday displays.
“I just felt so bad about all the things that are getting cancelled, and things getting taken away from kids all the time with everything going on with the coronavirus,” she said. “So, I was trying to think of something to do that was socially distanced.”
The response to the Bridesburg Christmas Countdown was overwhelming and diverse.
Franklin Towne Charter Elementary teacher and Bridesburg resident Mary Kate Schneider is doing a reading of different Christmas books and offering cookies and candy canes during her 2-hour time slot.
“With everything going on in our world today the children deserve to have some exciting holiday events around our neighborhood to look forward to, especially if they have been learning virtually through a chromebook screen,” she said. “Tis’ the season to enjoy all the things that the holiday season brings. I truly believe this season brings many together, six feet a part of course, and just lifts all of our spirits.”
Lori Marko will have a special treat for Santa’s sleigh-pulling team.
“My children and I will have a Make Your Own Reindeer food table set up for the kids to come and make reindeer food bags,” she said. “I hope that this experience reassures the community that even in a pandemic, our small neighborhood can come together to make such a wonderful time of the year special for everyone.”
For Schneider, celebrating the connection of the community is important.
“I am honored and so excited to be a part of this journey with our community and we cannot thank Stacy enough for organizing all that she has done for this to happen,” she said. Bridesburg is truly a one of a kind neighborhood and I am blessed to teach here within the community and to live here with my little family!”
Schawb’s ultimate goal reflects that feeling.
“I want to foster a strong sense of community in Bridesburg and have people appreciate this area where we live and the relationships people build in these pocket communities in Philly,” she said. “You may not have a big lawn or an inground pool, but there’s something to be said for living in a neighborly place where people are willing to do nice things for each other.”
To participate in the Bridesburg Christmas Countdown, visit the Bridesburg Christmas Countdown Facebook page.