December has come, the decorations shine through the streets and houses, now that it's not long before Christmas. For kids – and big kids – one of the best things about December is counting the days until Christmas with an advent calendar.
They can be chocolate, cheese, beer, gin or even beauty calendars, but with each one the premise is the same.
You open one door or box per day on the calendar and get a small gift for that day.
There are now hundreds of different types of advent calendars, with toys, jewelry, dog treats and everything else.
Preparing for Christmas is one of the most festive times of the year, with singing songs, Christmas food in shops and decorated homes.
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In churches and in the homes of practicing Christians, there is usually an Advent wreath, which usually has four or five candles.
The wreath crown is traditionally made of pine branches tied with a red ribbon and decorated with pine cones, holly, laurel and sometimes mistletoe.
There are usually three violet or purple candles and one rose, the pink candle lit on the third Sunday of Advent.
If there is a fifth, it is usually white and lights on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
In churches, every Mass on a Sunday during Advent begins with lighting the corresponding candle.
Where do Advent calendars come from?
Advent calendars were first used by German Lutherans in the 19th and 20th centuries, and usually featured a manger, St. Nicholas, and winter weather scene.
These were originally simple paper or cardboard calendars, with doors to open every day before Christmas from December 1st.
Sometimes families have reusable advent calendars that can be completed.
In modern times, advent calendars have evolved to include gifts like chocolate, toys, beauty, or alcohol, and often make no reference to Christianity.