A German Tradition: Advent Calendar

Advent calendar: A German Tradition

In Germany, one often hears a word „Adventskalender“ or advent calendar. around the time of Christmas. Ever wondered what it is? It is not just a calendar with chocolates hidden inside it but a lot more. Its a German tradition to sweeten the time before Christmas finally comes around. You can compare it to a count down. Basically you get 24 little gifts starting from 1st of December till you’ve reached Christmas Eve on 24th.. Usually you don’t know what you get, so the anticipation to open the next gift in the morning, is most of the fun in it. Children love this tradition, but the adults also participate and have their own advent calendar. 

What is advent and why is it called advent calendar?

Advent is the name of the time leading to Christmas. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and the 1st advent marks the start of the Christmas season. Even thou it’s called advent calendar, most of the times it does not start with the 1st advent Sunday. The date of the 1st advent varies each year. This year it’s on November 27th and next year one day earlier. To keep the numbers of the advent calendar consistent, so not to change them every year, the counting starts on 1st December. As the name already implies you get a small surprise every day of the advent calendar. On 1st of December you get your first gift, on 2nd the next, on 3rd another one and so on till you finally reach Christmas eve.

Where dose it come from?

nostalgic-adventskalender

Advent calendar with door

The gifts where not always part of the tradition. It began a lot simpler. People in the 19th century used chalk to make marks on the wall or used small Christmas pictures to count down the day leading to Christmas. Other – still very popular – methods were marked candles, which burn down at little each day, or daily tear-off-calendar. Only around the year 1908, printed advent calendars hit the market which had 24 rectangular fields, where small pictures were glued on. The publisher Gerhard Lang from Munich got the idea from his mother, who made something similar for him when he was a child. His mother fixed 24 cookies on a carton, one to eat a day. However in 1958 came the advent calendar, which had chocolate hidden behind small doors.

The modern advent calendar

Modern advent calendar come in all kinds of forms and shapes. You can often find printed carton box with 24 numbered “doors”, behind which your gift for the day is hidden. The types of gifts now variate from sweets, chocolate, poems or cosmetics or jewelries for adults and toys for kids. Right now its very popular to make your own advent calendar by preparing 24 gifts and than to gift it to someone you care about. The kind of gifts in that case are often self-made or related to a self-chosen theme like wellness or food. The packaging can be as creative as you can imagine. Form normal gift boxes, small decorated bags to Christmas socks.

Why don’t you try it yourself? It will make your time to Christmas eve so much sweeter.

Need some ideas? Have a look: 5 Ideas for a self made advent calendar

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