Oh my gersh folks, FOUR MORE DAYS TIL CHRISTMAS! I know this of course because of my trusty ADVENT calendar! Do you use one? Wolfie and I love ours. Just in case you’re unfamiliar, this lovely custom of counting down the days til Christmas began in Germany—with the very first known “Advents Kalender” being produced in Hamburg in 1902 or 1903.
The traditional calendar consists of a holiday image that has twenty-four little numbered doors. Children open up one door each day of December, counting down the days remaining until Christmas Eve. The final door, “24″, is always bigger than the rest and has the best picture inside!
This was one of my favorite family traditions. Every year my mother would bring out an Advents Kalender for me and my brother. (I think we each had our own, but I’m not quite sure!) It was something I totally looked forward to each year. I have to admit, I’m kind of a purist and I don’t really like those new calendars that have chocolates in them…nevermind the fact that the chocolate doesn’t really taste that great, there isn’t as much charm and mystery. You know every day is going to have the same piece of chocolate. The traditional calendars simply feature with a new picture behind every door, which I love! This was what mine looked like growing up:
image: jany schindler
What I love about the classic calendar is that you really have to search for the numbers…it’s like a little puzzle. And I love the simplicity of finding a sweet image inside.
That being said, I think there are some REALLY cool new calendars out there that would be super fun for any kiddo. For example, check out this amazing Lundby Advent Calendar that hides a little doll house treat behind each door. WOW! It was made in 2007, but you can still track them down here and there:
And my awesome friend Teri of Giddy Giddy made these cool push me/pull me Advent cards a while back with her girls:
image: giddy giddy
I thought this next one was really creative too. Each little package contains a fun trinket or activity, like “hot cocoa party!” or “movie night!”
image: a beautiful mess
And then there these garland calendars, which are really fun too:
image: house of giggles
So I know I said I prefer the simplicity of the older versions, but I’m going to contradict myself with these last two. Among the newer advent calendars that I find very charming (especially for little boys!) are the Lego Advent Calendar and the Playmobil Advent calendar.
We bought Wolfie the Lego Advent Calendar 2 years ago and he LOVES it. Each day you open up your window and get a special little Lego set to build and add to a “scene”. When you’re done you have a fun themed holiday or winter scene.
Keep in mind the Legos “prizes” each day are rather small. Some are very cool like building a Lego snowman….others are very simple like a street sign. But I don’t mind this. I think it’s important that kiddos today learn PATIENCE and that not everything is NOW! BIG! HUGE! Over all these are really great. They have different options and can be pricey, but of course you can re-use it every year.
There is also a really adorable series of Playmobil Advent Calendars, which have super sweet little characters too and “scenes’ you build.
I was lucky to find one of these at the thrift store and that’s what we’re using this year.
If you celebrate Christmas, do you have an Advent calendar to count down the holidays at your house? What are some of your favorite traditions from your childhood? I’d love to hear!