Advent calendars: If you like something, there’s a calendar that heralds it
Despite spiritual roots, the modern Advent calendar is as apt to celebrate pets and cold feet as anything else
Advent begins Nov. 27 this year and ends on Christmas Eve — a holy period in the Christian faith that marks the arrival of Christ. “Advent” comes from the Latin word for “coming,” as a matter of fact.
Trying to trace the history of Advent is a bit tricky, though, because of different explanations — and it seems likely that both the practice and interpretation have changed over a great many years. As Christianity.com notes: “Scholars believe that during the fourth and fifth centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation. ... During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas.”
In the sixth century, Roman Christians began associating Christ’s arrival to Advent. But they were focused on his second coming — a time of judgment. Linking the birth of Christ and Advent began in the Middle Ages, per Christianity.com.
Advent always starts on the Sunday between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3.
Today, despite the strong link to Christianity, what some people know about the holiday is limited to the 24-slot Advent calendars that hide treats of various sorts, to be taken out and enjoyed, one a day, til Advent ends.
According to WhyChristmas.com, German Protestant Christians in the 1800s made 24 chalk marks on a door to count down the days, erasing one each night until Christmas had arrived.
WhyChristmas says that was the first Advent calendar in what has become a beloved Christmas tradition for many.
The calendars, though, often bear no hint that there’s a religious underpinning, though they often are a lot of fun and highly coveted. In 2022, for instance, you can find Santa-themed calendars with small chocolate treats — or you could get one from Rituals filled with luxury beauty products and creams. There are Lego Star Wars advent calendars and a surprising number of different Harry Potter versions. Or maybe you’d like your calendar to feature new socks each day or herbal teas. Even the Pokemon franchise has an advent calendar.
There’s an advent calendar with a lot of little cats — and one with treats to feed your cat. Amazon alone sells more than 400 types of Advent calendars. And many of the higher end, designer Advent calendars can only be purchased from the brand they celebrate, like the L’Occitane en Provence Advent calendar.
You can even find a virtual Advent calendar, courtesy of Jacquie Lawson. For $7.99 you get “a beautiful village scene which becomes gradually more festive as Christmas approaches; 25 daily surprises including cute animated stories and numerous creative activities to keep you busy; more surprises hidden throughout the main scene; and a great variety of games, puzzles and books to entertain you.”
While there’s something for every taste and price range, time matters. Advent is nearly here. Maybe these will whet your appetite:
features 25 envelopes with 32 pop-up sculptures that form a nativity you’ll want to trot out every year. $39.
features a pretty array of fine chocolates, including a darling penguin. And instead of the typical 24 items, it has a Christmas Day bonus, too. $85.
sells for $29.99 and can be refilled year after year. But you have to supply your own treats.
gives you 42 pieces of a puzzle every day, so that by Christmas you’ve put together the 1,008-piece puzzle. $41.99.
by The Purple Cow is a family bonding experience, with a new game and instructions daily. Designed for ages 6 and up. $39.95.
cradles fragrance, scented soaps and aromatic candles in a wooden structure lined with cotton canvas and featuring sketches by Pietro Ruffo. $3,500.
is loaded with toys for your feline fur kid. $26.99.
includes 24 unique Funko Pocket Pops! miniature versions of Harry and his friends. $39.96.