To mark this, the day of the opening of the first door, a few notes about advent calendars:
* The term ‘advent calendar’ comes from the Latin ‘adventus’ or ‘coming’, and is a means of counting down the days until Christ’s birthday.
* Officially, advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, which would have been November 28th this year; for convenience, calendar makers always begin on December 1st.
* The tradition of advent calendars took hold in Germany in the 19th century; Germans also have advent candles that are burned down a notch a day over the 28 days of advent.
* Most people are familiar with the traditional calendars with either painted images behind the doors, a chocolate, or a small gift, but there are also other versions, some geeky interesting like the Lego calendar, some obscene like the $1 million dollar Harrods calendar, and tons of awesome DYI stuff like this.
* This year, our family ordered its four calendars from Richard Sellmer Verlag, the famous advent calendar empire in Stuttgart with 125 designs and 1 million calendars in stock. Richard Sellmer is credited with reviving the advent calendar tradition in Germany after the paper shortages of World War II. “It is true, it is not a legend, my grandfather really did that,” Oliver Sellmer, who now runs the empire, told me on the phone.