The Fascinating History of Advent Calendars, Revealed

If you’re among the 93% of Americans who celebrate Christmas, you likely are always looking for new ways to get into the holiday spirit.

One of the best things that you can do leading up to Christmas is Adventing. Read on to learn all about Adventing and the history of Advent calendars!

What Are Advent Calendars?

‘Advent’ is a month-long period that begins on the Sunday nearest to November 30th. This date was selected in the 4th century because it was the holy day nearest to the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle. Back in those days, Advent was intended for those converting to Christianity to get ready to be baptized.

Advent calendars weren’t around until the mid-1800s, though. These calendars traditionally open up a small door each day to reveal a trinket, piece of chocolate, or image. They also have nothing to do with St. Andrew’s feast day but instead are a countdown to Christmas.

The Early Advent Calendars

In the 1800s, the process of Adventing began when protestants throughout Germany lit candles leading up to Christmas. Like current advent calendars, they began this tradition on December 1st and ended on Christmas Eve.

This went on for a few decades, but print Advent calendars came into play at the turn of the 20th century. These print calendars featured Bible verses and holiday-themed images to get people into the spirit of Christmas.

Not long after that, a German newspaper built on this concept by adding little doors to an Advent calendar that it gave to its readers. There were 24 colored images on the paper and people would open the doors to reveal one each day. Companies then began to mass-produce and sell these Advent calendars because they were a commercial Christmas gold mine.

Dwight D. Eisenhower and Modern Adventing

At this point, Europe was pretty sold on Advent calendars as a concept. But when did they come to the US?

This is widely agreed to have happened during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower. During this period between 1948-1953, he photographed himself and his children engaging in the tradition. Because he was a well-liked president and people saw this as a good idea, Advent calendars were widely commercialized in America after that.

Advent Calendars Today

You can buy Advent calendars at most commercial stores around the Christmas season. A lot of them contain chocolate, which is both inexpensive and traditional. Figurines of religious icons also are common.

As of 2021, Adventing isn’t just limited to chocolates and parts of Nativity scenes. You can get calendars filled with jewelry, shot glasses, Funko pops, and more. There is even an Advent calendar for men that contains beer and other oddities!

Beyond the History of Advent Calendars

While Adventing began as an early tradition to prepare for baptism, it’s so much more than that today. It’s a fun way to share your love of Christmas with friends, family, and yourself.

Now that you know the awesome history of Advent calendars, it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit even more. Check out the ‘lifestyle’ tab on our home page to learn more ways that you and your family can prepare for an awesome holiday season.

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