Advent calendars mark the period of Advent -- that is, the run up to Christmas Day from the start of December. They can be found in many different designs and sizes, and typically conceal an edible treat, a small toy or a Christmas-themed picture behind each door. Most calendars sold commercially start from the 1st of December, though the actual period of Advent as celebrated by the Christian church can begin anywhere between the 27th of November and the 3rd of December (the fourth Sunday before Christmas).
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Things you need
- Advent calendar
Choose an appealing advent calendar. Remember it needs to interest everyone who will be using it (children and grandparents for example) as well as you.
Open the first door on the 1st of December and enjoy the treat inside (if there is one). Remove the door or keep it pinned back to make it easier to locate the unopened doors in the future.
Continue to open one door each day until Christmas. The doors should be marked with their respective dates. Some advent calendars include a door for Christmas Day (25th December) while others end on Christmas Eve (24th December).
Tips and warnings
- Avoiding opening doors ahead of time or falling too far behind. The purpose of an advent calendar is to provide a slow, steady build up to Christmas, and this is somewhat lost if you are rushing to catch up or rushing ahead. If it helps to get into a routine, open the door at the same time each day.
- You can buy individual advent calendars for everyone in your family, or all share the same one, depending on the wishes and interests of everyone involved. Some calendars feature a religious theme, for example, while others are strictly secular. You can even create your own using some basic art materials. Making your own advent calendar also has the advantage of enabling you to choose your own treats.
- The Advent calendar tradition begin in Germany in the mid-nineteenth century, when Protestants would light candles or draw chalk marks on their doors in the run up to Christmas. The first printed advent calendars date from the early 1900s. The tradition took off in the US when President Dwight D. Eisenhower was photographed opening an Advent calendar with his children.
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