What is a Christmas Advent Calendar?
An advent calendar is a special calendar that counts down the days until Christmas. It starts with December first and goes through December 25th. Usually it ends there, as Christmas day arrives. But some advent calendars go until December 31st as some families celebrate all the way to New Year’s Eve.
Advent calendars have been around a long while. Children have always waited eagerly for Christmas to arrive and perhaps they started as a way to keep children entertained until the big night. There are many vintage advent calendars that you can find online or at antique shops.
Advent calendars have little doors in them that provide a little reward or figurine when it is opened. Some calendars are even made of chocolate, so the child gets a candy every day that she opens a door. The doors must remain closed until the date that is on it. In other words, eager children can’t peek and open all the doors at once. It lessens the expectation. There’s nothing left to look forward to if they’ve already had a look at all the treasures behind the doors.
Sometimes an advent calendar will be made with pockets that hold a special ornament or even a saying. As the day approaches, that pocket can be emptied. The ornaments can be placed on the tree or the saying can be read. Usually advent calendars have a Christmas theme with candles, bells, holly, mistletoe, sleighs and other festive holiday icons as the designs on the doors. The prizes or figures inside are usually toy soldiers or Christmas trees, Santa or baby dolls. Tiny resin or wooden ornaments are most common.
Many people like to make their own advent calendars. You can make one out of felt and hang it as a wall hanging once December rolls around. Make it by cutting a large piece of felt and then adhering or sewing little pockets deep enough to hold a small Christmas gift. Number each of the pockets from one to twenty five. Place a small trinket, coin or other small item into each pocket. Children and grandchildren will have fun exploring what’s in each day’s pocket. You can put edible items, or have items you reuse each year. Once the day has passed, you can prop the item up in the pocket on display. Any date that hasn’t come yet will remain with its contents tucked inside. You can hang a dowel through the top of the felt by folding it over and sewing it or gluing it. Hang a string and place on a nail or hook. You can decorate the felt with glitter, sequins or cutouts or you can leave it as is. You may even want to experiment with shapes like Christmas trees or snowmen as the outer felt outline.
Advent is a wonderful time of looking forward to something good. Many churches will begin the season of advent with three purple candles and one pink. The pink is for the day the Christ child arrived. You can have your own advent countdown too with your own advent calendar and/or wreath. It’s fun for children to know how many days until Santa comes, and it gives the adults a good reminder of just how few shopping days are left!