German traditions – the advent calendar

Counting down

Since today is December 1st the count down to Christmas using the advent calendar begins. My kids were happy to learn this morning that they are getting one this year (lucky them that I finished it before we were in Las Vegas). Did you know that it’s origin goes back to the 19th century and seems to lie again in Germany? The main purpose was to count down the days until Christmas Eve and to shorten (or sweeten) the wait.

When I was a child we mostly had chocolate filled advent calendars similar to the ones you can find at stores these days. Each day you open a door and find a piece of chocolate with a different motif. When I was little we sometimes used the molds to fill with candle wax when all was done.
My first boy friend back in the day made one for me with a little present each day similar to the one I made for my kids this year (above).
Sally, from Little Hiccups made an activity advent calendar for her kids what I think is very cool, too. I found another one over at eighteen25 that uses cut out snowflakes and doubles as decoration.
There are pretty cool picture advent calendars. They come in all kinds of sizes and pictures (including postcard size) that will reveal a new small picture each day. In old times it used to be christian motifs but the newer ones show Christmas markets, teddy bears, cats – there is something for everyone.
By now you probably saw the Lego advent calendars when shopping (at least it’s hard to miss if you have kids) and there is a list of other companies that make them these days as well (teas, jam, games, christmas ornaments, the list seems endless).
Through another blog I came across the Reading Countdown Advent Calendar from Everyday Reading. Oh, how I wish my kids were still younger.
In Germany they also have book advent calendars that tell a story over 24 chapters and my favorite German kids character “Die Maus” has an online calendar with a clip hiding behind each door (sorry, that it is in German only).

I am sure I could continue this list a while longer. Do you have an advent calendar at home and which one would you prefer if you would get one?


15 thoughts on “German traditions – the advent calendar”

  1. I’ve been looking for one that is 24 little bits of cheese, called ‘sowrongitsnom’, but I have had zero luck. I have never done the advent calendar for my daughter. I had one or two when I was a kid, but they were just pictures, no chocolates.

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  2. I love Advent Calendars and I like how people have gotten creative over time … my boyfriend (when I was a teenager) also made an advent calendar for me every year (and I made one for him, too ;)). It was so much fun. I haven’t had an advent calendar in years. (Oh wait, not true – a friend gave me the “Friends” Advent Calendar a few years back. That was a fun one πŸ˜‰


  3. I love the Everyday Reading calendar, and was all set to order mine from Staples when my daughter said she doesn’t want one this year! I may still order it… and do it myself. (I am still reading her Christmas books — we started last night.) Advent calendars are so fun. We have been getting my daughter a store-bought one these past few years, the ones with little toys, and she loves them.

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    1. Yeah, my kids would not want to do the reading calendar anymore either. Too grown up for that now πŸ˜‰ I think my kids would have been really upset if they would not have received any though – still loving the sweets and little presents. I started planning on that one early otherwise we would have gotten one from the store.


  4. Both kids have chocolate calendars this year, and my son also received a LEGO Advent calendar for his birthday.
    I skipped it last year, but this year we’re also doing Advent Affirmations for the kids. Each child gets a little jar and we write positive affirmations about them on slips of paper and each morning they get to start the day with some uplifting compliment/thought. It’s low impact in terms of the work involved, and the kids seem to really enjoy it!

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  5. I love advent calendars! When my kids were younger we did the Lego ones, which were really fun. This year we have a ct advent calendar with cat treats behind each door. It’s fun for us to open a door every day, and the cats are happy!

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  6. I never did advent calendars as a kid, but I have done an advent calendar with the cats for the last two years and that has been fun! I need to do my research early next year so I can get myself a good advent calendar in 2023. There are so many creative ones now!


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