Most Advent calendars traditionally begin on December 1 and run through December 24 or 25. There are various styles ranging from a daily scripture to a daily piece of chocolate. The version I used growing up was a cardboard box with 24 little doors on it. Inside each little compartment was a small Christmas ornament. We would put them on a miniature Christmas tree each day. My sister and I would take turns opening the little doors before we left on the school bus in the morning and before church on Sundays. (After we grew up the cardboard box started to fall apart so my mother replaced it with a wooden box with 24 doors designed for an Advent calendar).
My sister has a simpler version of an advent calender. Each day you get a little magnet which attaches to the front of the advent calender. By the Christmas Eve all the magnets together form a Nativity scene.
As I’ve said before, this is really more about process rather than product. The point is to take the time to acknowledge the day, rather than how exactly you go about it. Some families have little slips of paper in 24 envelopes, each with an Advent scripture to be read aloud. It can be that simple.
Advent’s calendars can also be non-religious in nature. My mom purchases a fun online advent calendar from Jacquie Lawson each year. Each day there is a little Christmas themed animations that my kids and I click on to watch. It’s all about presents, decorating and snow, usually with some gingerbread people, teddy bears, cats and dogs thrown in. It’s a fun little tradition that my children enjoy. Usually the day after Christmas they sit down at the computer with my husband and watch all 25 over again.
Have you used an Advent calendar before? What was you favorite?