German Christmas Advent Calendars – Why So Special?

German Christmas Advent Calendar

Another typical German thing – the Christmas Advent Calendar!

The famous protestant reformer Martin Luther is initially to ‘blame’ for it. He made out of the strictly biblical holiday, a family-oriented Christmas. Therefore initially the ‘Advent calendar’ was just used as a counting aid for kids. This way, they could count down the 24 days from the 1st day of Advent until Christmas. It still didn’t look like the Advent Christmas calendar as we know it today. Mostly families drew 24 chalk lines at the wall. The kids then wiped one off each day. Another way was to hang one biblical picture at the wall each day. Sometimes families even used pieces of straw. Leading up to Christmas Eve, they laid one piece of straw each day into the nativity scene.

It took an innovative German to change that. In 1903, Gerhard Lang from Swabia, printed the first Advent Calendar that consisted of two separate sheets of cardboard. One had the numbers imprinted and the other one had pictures of Christmas angels on it. Each day, kids cut out one Christmas angel and attached it on the appropriate number.

What about the Christmas Advent calendar with those famous little doors?

For that, you had to wait until 1920s. However, it took until the 1960s for the candy industry to find its way into the Advent calendar niche. Good for us though, because many of us look forward to those deliciously filled Advent calendars – kids and adults alike!

What are the types of Advent calendars now?

The Classic Advent Calendar

Nativity Arches Religious German Advent CalendarThey are popular among adults and kids alike. Typically those calendars come with Victorian, biblical or other historical scenes.

For kids, there are also cute fairytale, winter themes and even modern themes. Some of these calendar are even 3-D.

The Chocolate & Candy Filled Christmas Calendar

3D House German Chocolate Advent Calendar by WindelExtremely popular with young and old! Nothing trumps opening that little door that leads to a yummy piece of choclate or candy.

You can choose among a wide variety, from the simple 3-d, Advent Calendar houses to even other kinds of shapes and sizes. German candy manufacturers are very creative in this space!

The Fill-it-Yourself Advent Calendar

ARC advent calendar electric lights Bow Erzgebirge Seiffen new 01010Those have become more popular in recent years since they can be reused every year. They greatest advantage is that they can be personalized!

You can purchase them in a large selection of designs and themes. Another option is to craft one yourself. You can find plenty of creative ideas online.