• Search

Family Traditions: Calendar Countdown

f64852ae1f83a57ac5dc2019bad97f24One of our favorite holiday traditions is to excitedly rush out of bed for twenty four December mornings to see what lies behind the little door on the Advent calendar.

The origins of the Advent calendar comes from the Early 19th Century German Lutherans who would count down the first 24 days of December in some way.  Often, this meant simply drawing a chalk line on the door, lighting a candle, or hanging a religious picture on the wall for each of the 24 days. The first advent calendar as we know it was created in 1851.

Children in the 1970’s we were mostly given cardboard calendars with pictures of either Nativity folk or other Christmas themed pictures – holly etc.  But by the time the 1980’s swung around, these cardboard pictures had morphed into treat machines with each door promising a sweet milk chocolate before breakfast each day. In more recent times, fabric/paper advent pockets have re-emerged, promising the recipient with exciting and often non-candy treats for 24 days and us parents the high-pressured task of coming up with tiny new trinkets each year.

After the annual scouring of the advent airwaves, we collected the following ideas for home-made advent calendars and inexpensive fillers.

Calendar Ideas

Holiday-Advent-Intro-537x537Recycled Envelopes (Inhabitots)

fb103c4688397a1038bdc41d42398215Children’s Socks or Mittens (Martha Stewart)

528237fe697ab00ddf005bc7._w.540_s.fit_Advent House (Morning Creativity)

advent6Countdown Parcels (30s Magazine)

f767fa0606172be3d397d036021e5e7aAdvent Bags (Etsy)

advent3Cloth Pockets (30s Magazine)

advent-1-600x400Colorful Boxes (You are my Fav)

advent-peopleWise Men (30s Magazine)

Quick and Easy (Artful Parent)

Ideas for Calendar Fillers

  • Puzzle pieces – each day one more piece of the puzzle is revealed!  Need a bit of patience with this one so probably better for older children.
  • Rubber stamps
  • Playmobil – a great source for cheaper single figures is ebay.com
  • Lego/Duplo
  • Craft supplies- pom-poms, glitter glue, pipe cleaners, etc.
  • Stationery supplies – markers, erasers, pencils, crayons
  • Mini toys – dinosaurs, fairys, bouncy balls, silly bands, bubbles, marbles
  • Finger puppets
  • Treasure map – give one more clue each day to the treasure on the 24th!
  • Books
  • Undies/Socks
  • Stickers, tattoos
  • Magic tricks, jokes
  • Mini cars
  • Parts of a Playset e.g. train set, barn and animals etc
  • Cookie cutters
  • Fun activity coupons e.g. Go Swimming, Trip to the Zoo, Coffee with Mama, etc.

Top Photo Credit: Green cone advent (Spoonful)

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 comment
  • I remember those older cardboard advent calendars from the 70’s. I loved opening each little box and figuring out what that tiny picture was.
    Nice piece of history and great ideas.