If you haven’t celebrated Advent before or you are just curious about how Advent calendars work, I’ve got the answers for you.
The first thing you should know before even mentioning a calendar is what exactly Advent is and why it is celebrated.
What Is Advent?
Advent is the time that Christians use before Christmas to wait and prepare for the birth of Jesus. It will vary slightly in specific Christian denominations when it actually starts but you will find that it is approximately 4 weeks before Christmas.
Nowadays, most people will start celebrating Advent on December 1 while most Catholics will start celebrating Advent on fourth Sunday before Christmas, which means the date will vary every year.
The thing to keep in mind is that you will find that people will celebrate their own type of “Advent” or Countdown to Christmas even if they are not Christians. Lately, Advent has simply become the definition of the countdown til Christmas (or 25 days of Christmas) starting on December 1.
Advent is celebrated by Christians to remind everyone about Jesus’s birth as well as His second coming while other people celebrate it to simply have some way to countdown or celebrate Christmas before it is here.
How Do Advent Calendars Work?
Advent calendars have been around for many, many years. They date back to the 19th century when German Lutherans starting using them before Christmas time. Before making the actual calendars they used to mark off days using chalk on their doors to celebrate Advent.
The most common type of Advent calendar are really simple card-like items that have paper or cardboard windows that are punched out or pulled open to reveal a piece of chocolate inside or a Bible verse for the day.
No matter what type of calendar you have, the main idea of how it works is that each day you open a window, drawer or place a special piece on the calendar to countdown the days.
Every day this is done starting usually on December 1 and then finishing on December 24 (sometimes the calendar will have Christmas day on it as well).
If you are a Christian you can use the each day on the calendar to inspire your devotions or even read the Bible story of Jesus’s birth to your kids.
As I mentioned, with modern times a lot of non-Christians have started using Advent calendars as just a countdown to Christmas for their kids and family. There are lots of these calendars available that have no mention of the birth of Jesus and rather just simply count the days until Christmas morning.
Non-Christian Advent calendars would work the same exact way as you would simply open a door, drawer, pocket or place the special item up on the calendar every day until you make it to December 25th. Instead of Bible verses you could use little treats, chocolates, toys, or even just some inspiring quotes for the day.