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Friday, November 26, 2010

Advent Calendars

The first Advent calendar was introduced by German Lutherans in the early 19th century to mark the season leading up to Christmas. Most early Advent calendars were of a religious in nature. In modern times they have really become a fun way to occupy children and manage their excitement before the arrival of St. Nick. Most of us are familiar the basic Advent calendar. It typically consists of a cardboard box with a holiday scene and 24 little perforated doors that open to reveal a little chocolate. There are still plenty of those around, but now the choices and styles are endless.

Cardboard  with chocolates 

When my children were babies I purchased red and green hand knit stocking with their names stitched on them. Initially these stockings were hung on the mantle. It didn't take long for me to come to the conclusion I wanted to have something more sophisticated on view. So out of my need for good design our Advent tradition was born as these stockings were relocated to my children's bedroom doorknobs. And, what initially made me feel a bit bad over their removal from the mantle for more stylish replacements, has turned into years of wonderful memories. My children have said on many occasions this has been a favorite part of Christmas. It's been one of mine too as I recall the all the winter afternoons starting on the first of December, when they would get off the school bus, hurry home and race up the stairs to see what was in their stocking. It was always the smallest item such as a package of stickers, candy, a Hot Wheel car, tiny doll, holiday pencils, etc....But it always brought smiles and again accomplished the task of managing excitement before the big day!

As my children got older and it became a challenge of what could could go into those stockings. A modification was in order and fortunately without any protests, the new tradition became the 12 Days of Christmas stocking.   The stockings still go on their doorknobs and I no longer manage to get 12 days in, but they still check and will randomly find candy, an ornament or an iTunes gift card inside! And, I know they will be happy to carry on this little tradition as long as they live at home...and I will too.

If you're looking to start your own tradition, the choices are endless!!! Here are several wonderful Advent calendars that I've come across this season:

This reminds me of the one from the "Christmas Vacation" movie!
 Sources: Pottery Barn, Garnet Hill, Viva Terra, Pottery Barn Kids, Room Service Home 


  1. I love all the calendars with the little sweet! I think we need to start this tradition here!

  2. We still hang a large advent calendar with ornaments in the 24 pockets that get placed on the tree. I remember the year the three guys did the math calculations to see who would get to put the Santa ornament up on Christmas Eve by who went first, second or third in the beginning of December! Cathy

  3. My kids' favorite was always the one with a chocolate behind each door. But this year my youngest has requested one from Lego that has a little lego treat behind each!

  4. I used to do Advent calendars for my two oldest children and they were so delighted to find something wonderful just before Christmas. I have a nine year gap and my little one asked for one last year--she had the same excitement that my older two used to have--of the magi of Christmas!

  5. These are all really great Advents. I bought each of my married boys the advent house from pottery barn they are really nice and the grandkids love them. They are something a little more sophisticated like you were saying. Isn't this soooo fun posting about Christmas and our traditions and memories, I love this time of year!!! Kathysue

  6. My mother in law started the sweetest tradition. The first year our son was born she gave us an advent box. Each year since, she send little notes for me to put inside each window. They are riddles that coordinate with little gifts that the boys get to open on each day in December. They adore this tradition and look forward to it every year.
    xo Elizabeth

  7. These are all great ideas. My sons have gotten used to the traditional chocolate ones from Europe. Nothing fancy or elaborate but even though they are headed towards their teens, they insist on having their advent calenders on hand December 1st.

  8. I really like the second last one with the stockings!


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