Advent began yesterday, December 1. Whether Advent is part of your heritage or not, and it was not always part of mine, some of you, like myself, may be a little curious about the history of the Advent calendar. Of course, I consulted Prof. Google for a medium dive into its origin. Here are a few facts I learned at mentalfloss.com that might also be of interest to you.
ADVENT CALENDAR ORIGINS
“Advent calendars typically don’t follow the actual period of Advent. Instead, they begin on December 1 and mark the 24 days before Christmas. Today, most Advent calendars include paper doors that open to reveal an image, Bible verse, or piece of chocolate. The tradition dates to the mid-19th century, when German Protestants made chalk marks on doors or lit candles to count the days leading up to Christmas.
THE FIRST PRINTED ADVENT CALENDARS
Gerhard Lang is widely considered the producer of the first printed Advent calendar in the early 1900s.
Around the same time, a German newspaper included an Advent calendar insert as a gift to its readers. Lang’s calendar was inspired by one that his mother had made for him and featured 24 colored pictures that attached to a piece of cardboard. Lang modified his calendars to include the little doors that are a staple of most Advent calendars today and they became a commercial success in Germany. Production stopped due to a cardboard shortage during World War II, but resumed soon after, with Richard Sellmer emerging as the leading producer of commercial Advent calendars.
I LIKE IKE AND IKE LIKES ADVENT CALENDARS
Dwight D. Eisenhower is often credited for the proliferation of the Advent calendar tradition in the United States. During his presidency, Eisenhower was photographed opening an Advent calendar with his grandchildren and the photo ran in several national newspapers.
THE $50,000 ADVENT CALENDAR
One of the most expensive Advent calendars to ever hit the shelves was a 4-foot, Christmas-tree shaped structure carved from burr elm and walnut wood available through Harrods in 2007. Each of the $50,000 calendar’s 24 compartments housed a piece of organic chocolate from Green & Black, with proceeds going to support cocoa farmers in Belize.
THE WORLD'S LARGEST ADVENT CALENDAR
According to Guinness World Records, the world's largest advent calendar was built in 2007 at the St. Pancras train station in London. The massive calendar, which measured 232 feet and 11 inches tall, and 75 feet and 5 inches wide, celebrated the reopening of the station following a renovation.
THE LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR
For several years, LEGO has produced an Advent calendar set, featuring figures or constructible accessories behind every numbered door. This year, the company is offering a City version and a Star Wars Advent calendar.
HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE
Since 2008, the Big Picture photo blog has featured an Advent calendar of daily images from the Hubble Space Telescope.”
Over the past 4 years I have subscribed to the on line Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar. Each day from Dec. 1 through Dec.24 I receive a suggestion for an act of kindness to carry out. It is inspiring and sparks creativity for finding new ways to spread kindness, gratitude and good will. What could be better?
Comments are most welcome.