Monday, December 7, 2009

Season 1/ Episode 4 -- History of the Advent calendar

Like so many other Christmas traditions, the Advent calendar was also initiated by the Germans in the 19th century. There were different methods in use in order to count down the days until Christmas; many of which we still use today. However, there are also so many different ideas in use nowadays that we can barely count them, it all depends on how creative people are and whether they just go out to the store to get one (that other people might also purchase in the same time) or they make their own calendar in a more personalized manner. Today, from traditional calendars to ones that feature popular collectibles and themes, we can find, make or buy everything.

Before though, there was the custom of drawing a chalk line to mark off the days; later people lit a candle every night or put up small religious pictures marked each day until Christmas.

The first printed calendar was produced by Gerhard Lang (Germany). When he was a child, his mother attached little candies to a piece of cardboard and each day Gerhard would take one off. His first (printed) calendar consisted of miniature colored pictures that would be attached to a piece of cardboard each day in December. Later Advent calendars were made with little doors to open on each day. The child might find a small piece of candy, a Christmas picture, a religious picture or a bible verse.

These calendars were produced until the beginning of World War II, but than the production had been stopped due to war shortages. After the war, in 1946 the production of calendars was resumed by Richard Selmer. Selmer credits President Eisenhower with helping the tradition grow in the United States during his term of office. A newspaper article at the time showed the Eisenhower grandchildren with The Little Town Advent calendar. His company still produces calendars today and can be ordered online. I checked out the online museum and look at some of the beauties that I have found.

This one was the first Advent Calendar made after the war initiated by Richard Shellmer 1946. It is called "Little Town"
Calendar with several scenarios in which little windows could be opened.
It is called: Kulisse II (1952)

Advent Calendar Chapel Place in the evening. With a three-dimensional Chappel with columns and a transparent shrine, by Richard Sellmer in the 50th.
Adventskalender Museum

This one somehow is so dear to me.I just love it! It is a Baroque-House Calendar
with cut roof, 38 x 27 cm, made in the late 50s.

(pictures are taken from, but there are many more so you can choose your own favorites)

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