Advent adventures

Advent adventures

CT.033480; Japan Series Tokyo Department Store 1960s-80s by Brian Brake. Gift of Raymond Wai-man Lau. Te Papa.

I’ve enjoyed searching through Te Papa’s collections to find items related to Christmas for this year’s advent calendar.

Advent calendars developed from a 19th century German Lutheran tradition of counting down the 24 days before Christmas. An advent calendar has 24 doors that you open each day from 1 December to Christmas Eve to reveal images or small gifts.

With our Collections Online calendar, we add a new collection item every day up to 24 December. Make sure you check each day to see what’s new.

Christmas cake decoration, about 1950. Gift of Annette Baier. GH4855-27. Te Papa

My favourites this year are the Christmas cake decorations, like the one above, that were donated to the museum in 1996.

I was also pleased and surprised to find some Brian Brake photographs with a Christmas theme. The one at the top of this blog is another one of my favourites. There are more Brian Brake photos on the Brake minisite.


  1. Christmas decorations, what about the silver coins once used in Christmas Pudds! I have some silver coins from England which were used for this purpose, 3d. 6d… Oh we used to love eating Christmas Pudding, just in case we were lucky enough to find a coin… nowadays find the puddings far to rich, but not in money! What about Christmas Parades through Wellington, with James Smith’s, loved doing that, was asked to help a journalist some time back with promises will get back to you, yeah right! But gave him some information, when started etc.. I have photographs somewhere of the Parades, my first encounter was 1970 when I first came to NZ from London.. loved taking part, walked from Basin Reserve to Town Hall giving out ice lollies to the children.. long walk, dressed as a clown..

    1. Hi

      Thanks for your suggestions – since your message you’ll see that I’ve added a pudding doll to the calendar. These little porcelain dolls were also added to Christmas puddings. And you’ll find images of Christmas parades and other Christmassy things at Santa parades |, New Zealand history online

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