Traditional German Advent Calendars- Count the Days to Christmas!
Having a Traditional German Advent Calendar to count down the days to Christmas was as normal to me as breathing or putting on House Shoes…. It is just something we had in our home. Some years they were quite simple… a double thick cardboard printed with Christmas scenes, and pictures behind each door. Other years they were more elaborate, and we had German chocolate Advent Calendars with chocolates behind the doors. We even had a wonderful fabric Advent Calendar with pockets that mom filled with treats. It didn’t matter what kind of calendar (well, not that much), it was a wonderful way to build anticipation up to the day when the biggest doors of all could be opened!
And it was also a good teaching moment when you realized that you could open extra doors… but that didn’t make Christmas come one minute sooner!
raditional German Advent Calendars
Advent Calendar Origin
Where did Advent Calendars come From?
Like most holiday traditions, I assumed that Advent Calendars had been around for hundreds of years, but actually, they are relatively recent. In the 1800s, parents did what they could to help excited children count the days until Christmas eve. Interestingly, the countdown used to start on December 6th… on St Nicholas Day, which makes sense, since that children received small gifts and sweets that day alSome made markings in chalk… others hung pictures on the wall. In literature, the earliest mention of a count-down Calendar comes in an 1851 Children’s book by Elise Averdieck. And an Advent Calendar is also mentioned by Thomas Mann in his work, Buddenbrooks. By 1902, the first “Christmas Clock” sold in Hamburg. It counted the days, much like a clock counts the hours with a moveable dial and hands.
But we can thank a mother for planting the seed that became the commercial Advent Calendar . In the late 1880’s, little Gerhard Lang, like all little boys, was very impatient for Christmas to come. His mother (the wife of a Protestant Pastor) , decided to make his waiting a little easier. She constructed a set of boxes, and filled each with a piece of Lebkuchen… Gerhard was allowed to open one box (and eat a cookie) every day leading up to Christmas.
Paper Advent Calendars
Flash forward a few years, and Gerhard Lang is now an adult. In 1904 he produced the first paper Advent Calendar inserted into the Stuttgarter Zeitung called “Im Lande des Christkindes.” The Calendars were sold in two parts- a main cardboard section came divided in 24 squares with verses, and a second sheet produced with colorful images. Children could cut out the images and glue them on appropriate squares while learning the verse. Soon he began his employment at publisher Reichhold & Lang in Munich. And in 1908, the company began to sell his Advent Calendars. Each year new images and variations increased the popularity of his Advent Calendars, including calendars with doors, calendars that needed to be broken open, calendars that could be filled with chocolates, and even Braille Advent Calendars. Sales were slow to begin with, but by 1920s children across Germany wanted them.
And by the 1930s, Advent Calendars spread beyond the German speaking world to Great Britain and the United States.
Today, Advent Calendars have swept the world, and you find them all over the US. The German chocolate Advent Calendars are most common. I know, all of my kids still get excited… even the big ones… about opening the doors and finding a shaped piece of chocolate!
Not to be outdone, Toy companies are releasing Advent Calendars that create a scene made from Legos or Playmobil. Some have a holiday or religious scene… others are just for play.
In our home we have a few European Advent Calendars (but primarily German).The kids have their chocolate ones (there is no escaping it). We also have a lovely wall hanging that my aunt made. I fill it every year with mini-chocolates (Milka Naps are best!). Then there is a Wooden Advent House, and behind each door is a forest animal. And, somewhere along the line, a Playmobil Advent Calendar snuck into our home.
With all of these Advent Calendars, there is NO WAY we are ever going to miss Christmas!
But my favorites will always be the paper Advent Calendars. With a little care, you can bring them back out year after year.
Traditional German Advent Calendars
These Traditional German Advent Calendars are made from card stock. Each door opens to show a small picture or verse.
When placed in front of a light, there is a glow through the open doors. You can re-use these Advent Calendars, just close the doors…. but they aren’t really the same after use.
Still, the pictures on these Advent Calendars are quite beautiful. They even become collectors items.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter German Advent Calendar | The German Fairy Tale CastleLarge Round Nativity German Advent Calendar Made in Germany Christmas CountdownDreaming of Angels German Christmas Paper Advent CalendarWinter Castle German Advent CalendarChildren Playing in Snow German Advent CalendarTall Christmas House German Advent Calendar Christmas Countdown Made in GermanySellmer Seasonal Decorative Market at Neuschwanstein (With Envelope) Christmas Advent Calendar – 11Cologne Cathedral German Advent Christmas CalendarAdventskalenderWinter Nativity Scene German Advent CalendarSellmer Dwarfs in the Snow Advent CalendarSellmer Angels Stairway Advent Calendar
Kreuter Advent Calendars
Kreuter makes beautiful photographic Advent Calendars.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Photographic Advent Calendar – by KreuterKreuter Old Sheep Pen with Nativity Scenes- Photographic Advent CalendarKreuter Neuschwanstein Castle – Photographic Advent CalendarKreuter Frauenkirche Dresden – Photographic Advent Calendar
Advent Calendars from Germany
These beautiful calendars are shipped from Germany … so be mindful of shipping costs. But they are so lovely.
Vintage German Advent Calendars
These old fashioned paper Advent Calendars are collectors items! I love the illustrations and glitter … they take me back to my childhood.
Advent Calendar wirh pictures / made in Germany/ pic#4 / magical / prepare for the holidaysVintage Christmas Advent Calendar, 1950’s Santa Paper Advent Calender, West Germany, 1950’s ChristmasAdvent Calendar, vintage advent, nostalic christmas countdownAdvent Calendar, vintage Christmas
German Chocolate Advent Calendars
Open a door the door of these German Chocolate Advent Calendar, and get a super special treat, a piece of chocolate (just one per day!).
But some are more than just simple chocolates… they are filled with Kinder Schokolade, Lindt, and Ritter Sport!
There are even 3 D Advent Houses filled with Chocolate! What child (or adult) wouldn’t be happy counting down the days until Christmas with such a wonderful Advent Calendar!
Most though are simple… a sort of thick cardboard that holds pockets of chocolates. Perfect to satisfy the sweet tooth just a little bit each day, until the magical time when you open the last doors and Christmas is HERE!
For more Chocolate Advent Calendars–> German Chocolate Advent Calendars
Traditional German Advent Calendars to Use Year After Year
These are special Traditional German Advent Calendars that you can use year after year. They can even become special family heirlooms to pass down for generations. Fill them with chocolates or small trinkets.
Wooden Christmas Advent Calendars
Made in the Erzgebirge of Germany, a special luxury wooden Advent Calendar will delight anyone who sees it! This type of wooden Advent calendar will definitely become an heirloom loaded with memories.
For a bigger selection of Wooden Advent Calenders–>German Wooden Advent Calendars
BRUBAKER Reusable Wooden Advent Calendar to Fill – Red Locomotive with 24 Doors – DIY Christmas Calendar 18.70 x 3.74 x 5.51 inchesBRUBAKER Advent Calendar – Red Santa – Wooden Christmas Forest Scene with LED Lighting – 14 x 2.3 x 10.63 inches
Fun Advent Calendars for Kids From Playmobil
These are great because they can either be packed up again for next year… or the toys can be incorporated into the ones already in the toy box.
To see a bigger selection of Playmobil Advent Calendars–>Playmobil Advent