Christmas Countdown calendar adventimations

November 2019

You can still enjoy this calendar every Christmas. Follow the link...

In 2014 I was given the chance to animate a collection of cartoons created by Handsworth comics legend Hunt Emerson. He had been enjoying the annual calendar and was interested in the idea of working on one.

Hunt Emerson is an internationally acclaimed illustrator and has drawn cartoons and comic strips since the early 1970s. He has published around 30 comic books and albums, mainly with Knockabout Comics (London). His work has been seen in countless magazines, ranging from Radio Times to Fortean Times; from the Wall Street Journal to The Beano AND he has wide experience in hosting cartoon and comics workshops. His website is at


Follow this link to Hunt's Countdown calendar and find out what's happened to the bell

The whole process of building Hunt's ideas into the windows, using his high quality cartoon illustrations and making all the 'adventimations' work as animated gifs for his approval, was a treat. I concentrated on the one version of the calendar that would work on all platforms, and had to have it ready well ahead of December - no more moving files around manually at midnight.

All the work was for fun and fund-raising, and that year the calendar raised nearly £300 for cancer research. You can still access Hunt's Christmas Countdown at the link above.

On the technical side, I used the Drupal scheduler module to time the appearance of the different pages from day to day. After Christmas I redirected the pages into a permanent table to preserve the work so you can now enjoy this everlasting advent calendar every year.


The year before

I had used the Drupal platform for the calendar for the first time the Christmas before, having worked with this open source software for most of the year. I had also become the owner of a collection of retro Christmas decorations, mostly from the 1950s and early 60s. the result was the early Drupal version of the Retro Countdown to Christmas calendar . As with all the others linked from the workspace advent calendar page, you can still open Christmas day.

retro christmas lights

I knew that a Drupal calendar should work very well on all screen sizes so would be much more straightforward than working on different mobile and tablet solutions. I felt at the time that I couldn't miss the opportunity of adding tunes from a retro stylophone, so there was originally a Flash version of the calendar as well to get the sound.

My stylophone rendition of 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas' had become too annoying, so I turned it off and settled for 'All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth' when you open the last window. Sadly, however. Flash files are no longer web friendly so that version of the calendar has now been removed. 

Retro Christmas calendar