Wednesday, December 01, 2010

'Tis the Season! - December 1st

December 1st marks the first day of the Advent Calendar in our house!  The girls have loved it all their lives and still look forward to opening the doors every day in December leading up to Christmas.
When they were little munchkins, we got them the cardboard calendars filled with chocolate.  They loved them, not because the chocolate was high quality, but because there was some excitement in opening the calendar every morning at breakfast!

I can remember that anticipation, although I remember one year when we shared an Advent Calendar.  Since there were 5 of us, we opened a door every five days!  But, someone had raided the calendar and took all the chocolate, leaving empty doors.  Oh, the horror!

One year, I sewed 24 tiny stockings, numbered them up to 24 and filled them with various surprises!  Last year, Jon and I found a wooden calendar in Boston that we bought.  It is fun and filling it is a bit of a challenge!  But, the girls like it.  They even wait for each other being peeking into the calendar in the mornings!

The tradition of the Advent calendar idea dates back to the 1800s when Protestant families marked Advent with a chalk line on their front door.
The first calendar was handmade in 1851.  The first mass produced calendars were made by a German, Gerhard Lang who designed them after the ones his mother made for him.  She attached a candy to each day of the calendar.  Lang created ones that used pictures not candies.
A German company followed his idea (Sankt Johannis) making their calendars with Bible verses instead of pictures.  The calendar's popularity grew across Europe but was stifled due to WWII rations on cardboard.
In the 1940s Americans took the idea and made it with the famous chocolate in each window.

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