The people of the ancient market town of Montgomery have made it a festive season to remember this year by contributing to their first Live Advent Calendar.
Every evening between December 1 and Christmas Eve, at 6.15pm, a door in the town opens and those gathered outside experience something related to Christmas for a few minutes in that doorway.
Each evening, a group of more than 50 people gather around a door in expectancy, not knowing what will happen when it opens. Then bells are rung, the door is knocked on with a shepherd’s crook and there is a shout to ‘Open the Advent Calendar door please’.
The Live Advent Calendar has been organised jointly by the St Nicholas Church and Montgomery Presbyterian Church.
Organiser Helen Hayes, from the Friends of Montgomery Church, said: “The little town of Montgomery, unlike the one of Bethlehem that we sing about in the carol, has not been still in the last few days.
“So far, doors have been at the school, the museum, local businesses, the chapel and the church as well as private houses and doors opened by the Guides and the Rainbows.”
The Live Advent Calendar event started in Broad Street at the house of Lesley and Mike Mills on December 1, with memories of a 1960s and ‘70s childhood Christmas with live music.
Since then, townsfolk have experienced a wide variety of doors including singing, dancing, plays on a Christmas theme, a snowball fight in the drizzle, the chance to see Christmas cards that were sold in Montgomery more than 100 years ago and stories and reflections about the meaning of Christmas.
Many mince pies have been made and eaten and many glasses of mulled wine raised. The Live Advent Calendar ends on Christmas Eve in St Nicholas Church with a crib service and celebration.
“We decided to put on this event to draw people in the community together in the run up to Christmas and to help people reflect on the meaning of the festive season,” said Helen.
“Montgomery has really taken to the event, with many people helping to run it, offering to open their doors and turning out each evening to see what will happen behind the next door, even in the rain.
“The creativity shown by the ‘door openers’ has been staggering and for Montgomery this will be a Christmas to remember. With less than a week until Christmas, expectancy continues to grow about what will be behind the remaining doors.”