Advent calendars. You see people talking about them all the time during the holidays, but what is an advent calendar?
And, what is the advent calendar history?
Like, why did people start using advent calendars anyway?
(And, what the heck do you use as advent calendar stuffers?)
No worries, we’re breaking all the advent questions down here!
What Is Advent?
Advent is the waiting period for the birth of Jesus at the Nativity.
It is usually observed starting either the fourth or sixth Sunday before Christmas.
What Is An Advent Calendar?
If you’re not familiar with the advent calendar meaning, it is simply a calendar that helps count down until the days of advent.
Advent calendars now don’t necessarily follow along the same period of the observed advent period.
Today, advent calendar often start on December 1st and lead up until Christmas Eve (December 24th).
Advent Calendar History and Meaning
Gerhard Lang is often considered to be the creator of the printed advent calendar.
In the early 1900s, a printed Christmas calendar appeared in a German newspaper that was based on Lang’s idea of a calendar he received as a child.
According to My Advent Calendar:
“This calendar didn’t have any little doors to open, instead it was composed of two printed parts: one page contained 24 pictures to cut out, as well as a cardboard page on which there were 24 boxes, each with a poem composed by Lang.
The children could cut out one picture each day, read a verse and glue the picture on it. On December 24th the Christ child, dressed in white, was glued in place.”
Lang then expanded his advent ideas to include elaborate designs with doors that could be opened to reveal pieces of chocolate and other items.
It is believed that Dwight D. Eisenhower popularized the idea of the advent calendar in the United States.
He was photographed during the holidays with his grandchildren opening an advent calendar.
That photograph was distributed in newspapers across the United States and soon everyone wanted to open an advent calendar!
READ THIS NEXT : 13 DIY ADVENT CALENDAR IDEAS
Advent Calendar Ideas
Now that we’ve answered, “What is an advent calendar?” let’s move on to “Give me some advent calendar ideas!”
One thing is for sure — no matter where they come from we have a lot of fun with them.
(And, if you’re getting started a little late, don’t worry! The kids will have fun when you let them open a few days at one time to “catch up”!)
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Buy an Advent Calendar
If you’re like me, your holiday ideas are always bigger than what actually happens.
If this is you, too, then there’s nothing wrong with buying your advent calendar.
(I’ll admit it, we’ve been doing this the past two years.)
Here are some fun advent calendar ideas that are available for kids:
LEGO City Calendar (The Lego City Advents are some of our favs!)
DIY Advent Calendar
If you’re looking for a way to make your own advent calendar (either for your family, as a gift, or a DIY advent calendar for toddlers), check out our list of DIY advent calendar ideas.
Just vary the contents of the days based on the age and audience.
Making your own is a lot of fun and you can recycle it every year.
Just fill it with new advent calendar stuffers and you’ll be good to go!
Advent Calendar Ideas for Adults
If you’re looking to put together an advent calendar for adults, then it will be FUN.
There are so many different advent calendar filler ideas for adults.
You can go classy with some upscale gifts or you can go silly with gag gifts (hit a dollar store).
Adult Advent Calendar Ideas:
Some other advent calendar filler ideas for adults are make-up, chocolates, nuts, and personal notes.
What Do You Put In Advent Calendars?
If you’re making your own advent calendar (or one buying one that you need to fill), you’ll need some advent calendar stuffers.
One of the things that I love most about a DIY advent calendar is that you can tailor it to the person/people opening it and put some personalized gifts in them!
Your advent stuffers will also depend on how big or small your advent calendars are. If you’re using the little window calendars, you’ll be limited to small items (like a single piece of candy).
However, if you’re using small pails (like we did one year) or little burlap bags (like those shown in our DIY Advent Calendar post), you’ll have more room to do bigger things like socks or small stuffed animals.
Here are some advent calendar stuffer ideas (think some things you might use as stocking stuffers):
- Small toys
- Small stuffed animals
- Personal note
- Earrings/piece of jewelry/charms for a charm bracelet
- Lip gloss/lip balm
- Fun coupons
- Gift cards
- Tiny Christmas Ornament
- Rock with a special message
- USB or memory stick with a special photo show that you made
- Small Lego figurine
- Beads and cord (to make a necklace or craft)
- Temporary tattoos
- Bouncy Ball
Honestly, what you use as advent calendar stuffers are limited only by your imagination!
Do you do an advent calendar each year? If so, I’d love to hear your experiences and ideas. Let’s discuss in the comments!
[Historical Advent Calendar Image: Lang Advent Calendar Image Source]