Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Brief History of the Advent Calendar

Advent calendars have been a much loved Christmas countdown for generations and have certainly taken many forms on their path to becoming the many-windowed printed versions we're accustomed to today.

In the 19th century, religious families made a chalk line each day of December leading up to Christmas. Other early styles included the Adventclock and the Adventcandle with a candle for each of the 24 days and another chalk tradition of painting one stroke per day on the door up until Christmas Eve.

There is a debate over the year of the first printed advent -- some say it was a 1903 insert in a newspaper, others credit Gerhard Lang in 1908 -- though neither had windows to open. Sadly, WWII brought the growing advent tradition to a grinding halt when cardboard was rationed and the production of calendars with pictures was forbidden.

In 1946, with paper purchased from the US Military Zone, the first post-war calendar was created and shown at an international fair in Frankfurt. Called "Little Town," (shown below) this first calendar had small windows to open and received an overwhelming response gaining popularity worldwide, particularly in the United States, and paving the way for the advents we know and love today.

Still made by the same family who began production in Germany over sixty years ago, we're proud to stock more than 50 different styles of calendars including "Little Town" and a host of others carefully made with charming graphics, subtle glitter detailing and windows that open to reveal a picture or Bible verse.

Visit us at 32 Degrees North to see our selection of vintage and Victorian style advents featuring traditional family scenes, animals and children, gnomes, Santa and angels.


  1. Christmas magic! These are sooo lovely...hard to chose a favorite. Must say I am really drawn to the "Snowy Cottage" calender... I reminds me of a story book I had as a child. In fact all of these hold childhood magic at Christmas... Thanks for the sneak peek at Christmas! Happy Day :o) ((HUGS))