Advent Calendars: History and Tradition

Advent Calendars: History and Tradition

The Advent Calendar is one of the most representative traditions of Christmas. This is how it was born and how it is carried forward today

The Advent Calendar was born alongside the Nativity scene, as a tool to make everyone understand the spirit of waiting and the magical suspension of Christmas. In the case of the Nativity scene, conceived by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1223 in Greccio, the intention was to communicate to the illiterate and ignorant people the great mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus, through the re-enactment of the Nativity scene, with its characters. The Advent Calendar was born with the same intention, but it is aimed, at least initially, at children.

Advent has always been one of the most important moments of the year for Catholics all over the world. Believers prepare for the coming of Christ, for the renewal of His miraculous birth, at Christmas. Advent is also the liturgical time when devotees reaffirm their hope, the wait for Jesus’ second coming, the one that will establish the end of the world as we know it, the end of time. It is not easy to make the little ones understand the authentic meaning of this period and not even of the party that will come. It is easier to make them understand the importance of a unique holiday, which is renewed every year and brings families and faithful together like no other.

Advent time

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Advent time
Advent has always been one of the most important moments of the year for Catholics all over the world…

The mother of Gerhard Lang, Maulbronn’s future publisher, who invented the Advent Calendar at the end of the nineteenth century, must have thought of the need to feed this climate of waiting, to increase the expectation of the children of the house. In Germany, the custom was already widespread of hanging small Christmas-themed decorations on the walls or marking twenty-four dashes with chalk on the door, one for each day before Christmas, inviting the little ones to erase them as they approached the fateful date. Tired of hearing your child repeat the question every day: “When is Christmas coming? How many days left?” Mrs Lang made 24 spicy cookies, sealed them in as many bags, and promised her son that he could open and eat one a day from 1 December until Christmas Eve. A very sweet thought, to accompany the days of waiting for the Feast and help the child understand its importance. In short, a DIY Advent Calendar was followed by many others in the following years.

This custom invented by his mother influenced little Gerhard Lang to the point that, once he grew up and became a publisher, he decided to propose the same idea again by creating a cardboard support with 24 small windows, one for each day from 1 December to Christmas Eve, where you could hide cookies, candies, chocolates, or small gifts inside that children could discover day after day. Soon others imitated his idea, creating empty Advent Calendars in cardboard, wood, and cloth, which could be filled with surprises by parents, and some pastry shops also began to sell Advent Calendars already full of sweets.

Advent calendars to be filled

The idea of an empty Advent Calendar to be filled is still widespread today. Also in our online shop, you will find many colourful and cheerful proposals, suitable both as decoration ideas for Christmas, and to accompany the children of the house towards the Festival. For example, the cheerful Christmas Tree-Calendar of Advent, composed of 24 cloth balls attached with buttons, in which it is possible to store chocolates, candies or small gifts, or the nice wooden Advent Calendar with 55 x 52 cm bags, composed of 24 cloth bags hanging from a wooden stick, all to be filled. A nice decorative and very Nordic idea to decorate the house given Christmas can instead be the cloth Advent Calendar decorated with deer. It consists of 24 pockets of different colours ready to accommodate chocolates, sweets or small gifts.

Wooden Advent Calendars

Always wanting to choose an Advent Calendar to fill with sweets or personalised gifts, you can choose one of our beautiful wooden Advent Calendars, such as the 48 cm Advent Calendar depicting a house and a snowman, with its practical drawers, which will make your home even more cheerful during the Christmas holidays. Or the elegant and refined white Advent Calendar, with a backdrop reminiscent of a snowy forest and 24 small drawers decorated in gold. This calendar offers the additional advantage of being illuminated by battery-powered LED lights, as well as the Advent Calendar with a Nativity scene, in the shape of a hut, with shepherds and sheep, illuminated by LED lights that are activated thanks to AA-style batteries. Lastly, the folding boxed Advent Calendar is practical and original, revealing a snowy forest with trees, reindeer and a small house.