The word ‘advent’ comes from the Latin word adventus which means ‘coming’ and it is used to describe the preparations made in the run up to Christmas. Traditionally, the Advent Calendar is used to countdown to the birth of Christ in Western religions but today it also comes in non-secular varieties.
The origin of the advent calendar as we know it today dates back to the 19th century in Germany where people would often countdown the days to Christmas in a variety of ways. One such way was via an Advent Clock which would use 24 candles to signify one day, or by drawing chalk lines on their door and erasing one with each passing day.
There is some debate about the first printed Advent Calendar but general consensus puts them into production at the start of the 20th century. The practice declined during the Second World War to conserve paper then became popular again through the company Richard Sellmer Verlag which still produces advent calendars today.
Traditionally the calendars include 24 boxes counting down to Christmas and most modern-day versions have chocolate or gifts behind each door. Most advent calendars have 24 boxes leading up to Christmas Eve, but in America, they often go up to Christmas Day itself. In the UK, you can also find ones that run all the way to December 31st for New Year’s Eve. This was particularly common during 1999/2000 for the millennium.
Here we have put together a guide to the different kinds of Advent Calendar that you can find in shops for Christmas 2012:
Cadbury – Dairy Milk Advent Calendar – £2.19
One of the most common types of Advent Calendar today, this is a simple cardboard Dairy Milk advent calendar with a chocolate hidden behind each window.
Lakeland – Bethlehem Advent Stable – £59.99
This permanent style advent calendar includes 24 boxes, with each one containing a different figure from the Nativity story. As you open each box, you build up the scene until its completion on Christmas Eve.
Interflora – Advent Rose Gift Box – £74.99
Combining fresh flowers with chocolates, this is a unique take on the Advent Calendar design. Underneath the red roses are 24 chocolates numbered for each day leading up to Christmas.
John Lewis – Villeroy and Boch Advent Calendar Set – £295.00
This china Advent Calendar is shaped like a Christmas tree, rather than the more common box-style and includes 24 china decorations for you to decorate your full sized Christmas tree at home with.
Lego – LEGO® Star Wars™ Advent Calendar – £24.99
A very modern example of an Advent Calendar, this includes small figures, vehicles and space ships from the popular film series in each of the 24 boxes.
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