Advent calendars and Christmas countdown decorations are a wonderful and fun way to keep track of how many days are left until Christmas. Originally, the advent calendar was created in the 1800’s, and families used chalk to draw a line to represent each day from the first until the 25th of December. In 1851, the first handmade Advent calendar was created. Before this, the markings representing each passing day were usually drawn on a door. Another alternative was to hang a small picture on the wall for every day in December.
While some of the first Advent calendars made were actually clocks, a man by the name of Gerhard Lang published the first actual calendar to be printed. Originally, it had small pictures that could be applied to the calendar as each day passed. Eventually in 1908, the Advent calendar came with little windows that could be opened as each day passed with a different picture behind each window. To entice children to participate in using the calendars, eventually a small piece of chocolate was included behind each of the windows. The chocolate was molded into holiday shapes such as bells, trees, or gifts. Eventually Advent calendars were sold at drugstores all over the United States, and were especially popular in the late 1950s-1960s.
Today, Advent calendars are still sold at Christmas time. They can come in just about any theme from religious to snowmen and Santa Claus. The calendars are a fun way for the whole family to count down to the big day, and teach us patience and steadfastness. They are fairly inexpensive and are a wonderful way to anticipate the arrival of Christmas day.