The countdown to Christmas just got a little more delicious.

Several years ago we started a new holiday tradition at our house. Our son had always had an advent calendar that he enjoyed opening to count down the days to Santa's arrival. His calendar was filled with LEGO bricks that would combine to create a different toy every day.

Honestly, I was a little jealous. That's when I stumbled across one of the greatest holiday inventions of all time: The Beervent Calendar.

I was in a little beer shop in Connecticut when I saw rows of wooden crates lined up against the wall. A sign said "reserve your beer advent calendar today." Intrigued, I asked what this was all about and was told that the store would pick random beers and number them for you to enjoy every night in December leading up to Christmas. I didn't purchase one that day, but I kept thinking about the idea and decided that I would make my own.

I went to my local beer store and mixed and matched 24 of my favorite local beers to create my own Hudson Valley beervent calendar. Each bottle was placed into a brown paper bag and arranged randomly in a box. I numbered each bag and left the box in the garage to stay cold. Each night leading up to Christmas I'd grab a new bag and be "surprised" by a delicious beer to help me unwind from all of the holiday madness.

Every year since I've crafted my own beervent calendar. Some years I've gone for rare and fancy beers, Other years I've opted for all IPAs or Belgian beers. One year I randomly inserted old-school canned lagers as a sort of Russian roulette version of the calendar.

This year I've upped the game even more and got a box specifically made for beer advent calendars. sells empty beer cases with a lid that has perforated openings. You can get them with holiday designs, or blank to create your own calendar.

Some stores have also started selling their own calendars that come pre-filled with beer, making each day a true surprise. I, however, prefer choosing my own beers. This year's calendar cost me just under $100 to put together and it includes beers my wife and I have enjoyed at locations all around the world. I'm looking forward to spending the holidays reminiscing about our travels and time together over the years.

It's still not too late for you to make your own beervent calendar. Just gather 24 of the Hudson Valley beers you enjoy the most, grab some paper bags and a marker and you're all set for a season of some real holiday cheer.

If you do make a beervent calendar, I'd love to hear about it. What beers did you choose and how did you decide to put the calendar together? You can share your pictures on our Facebook page or email them to me at my address above. Happy holidays!

Listen to the Wakin' Up With CJ and Jess Show weekday mornings from 6AM to 10AM on The Wolf. Stream us live through the website, Alexa-enabled device, Google Home or The Wolf mobile app.

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