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Advent calendars

Advent or Christmas calendars are tools, devised by adults for children, to make the remaining time until Christmas Eve countable and to stir up anticipation. They usually begin on December 1, but early versions in particular often start as late as December 6 (St. Nicholas calendar) or Advent 1.


One early evidence of a kind of Advent calendar comes from a children’s book by Elise Averdieck dated 1851: “In the evening when little Elisabeth goes to bed, her mother always tells her a little bit about the Christmas story and they learn and sing lots of Christmas carols. Every evening a new picture is added to the wallpaper and the children know that when all twenty four pictures are hanging on the wallpaper then Christmas is here.” Chalk marks on doors where one is wiped away every day or straws placed in the nativity crib every day were also used for children to count the days.


The oldest calendars

The oldest printed Advent calendar is "St. Nicholas the Santa Claus" with utility model protection from 1900 for Carl Straub in Munich. Shortly thereafter, in 1902, the "Christmas Clock for Children" appeared, which initiated the type of Advent clocks. And Gerhard Lang, who became known as the "inventor of Advent calendars", regularly published new and playful variants with graphic design by well-known children's book illustrators in his Munich publishing house from 1904/1908 onwards. These included calendars with scrapbooks, tear-off calendars. Calendars with figures to slide into a backdrop picture, but also the door calendars that are still well-known today. He is credited with the first Advent calendar with chocolate from 1926 and the first Advent calendar for the blind from 1930.

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