Advent Calendars: The First Gifts of Christmas
If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you were considered privileged – bordering on posh – if your advent calendar contained even substandard chocolate. Before then, picture calendars built up that festive feeling. While back in the 1850s, Advent was merely marked by the making of lines on a wall, counting down the days until Christmas.
Today, there has been a significant sea change. Advent calendars are no longer simply a way to countdown to Christmas. They are often the first gift of the season. But just because advent calendars can cost the earth, containing toys, gin (for the adults, obviously!), or even jewellery – it doesn’t mean that they have to.
Because, really, Advent isn’t about getting more/bigger/better. Whether Christmas, for you, is a religious celebration or about spending time with your family – maybe a bit of both – Advent is the countdown not the main event… Kind of like the bongs on New Year’s Eve. So, while an Advent calendar does make a wonderful pre-Christmas gift, it needn’t be an extravagant one.
Let’s look at some fun Advent calendar facts to get you into the spirit.
7 Things You May Not Know About Advent Calendars
- The first ever printed advent calendar is thought to have been created at some point between 1902–1908.
- In 2007, the biggest Advent calendar ever made was created in London’s St. Pancras train station. It measured 232 feet and 11 inches tall, and 75 feet and 5 inches wide. At the time it was described as an ‘advert’ calendar to celebrate the station’s relaunch.
- Advent originated as a time of fasting. Rather like Lent and Eastertide, in the 5th century CE monks began fasting thrice weekly in November to prepare for Christmas and Epiphany… It makes you wonder where the chocolate tradition came from!
- To conserve paper, the production of Advent calendars ceased during World War II. They have become increasingly popular ever since.
- The most expensive Advent calendar ever made was released this year (2019) by Tiffany. Four-foot-tall and containing gifts amounting to £104,000, only one of these advent calendars is available to buy in the UK. But given that you could purchase a terraced house in Lancashire for around the same price, demand probably won’t exceed supply!
- In Scandinavia there is also a tradition of having a calendar in the form of a radio show or TV show, with a new surprise revealed every day.
- Some Advent calendars have 31 doors, taking you up to New Year’s Eve… But maybe don’t tell your kids that, otherwise you could have a long Google search ahead!
The Swizzels Advent Calendar
The Swizzels sweets Advent calendar is available for just £5.00. Every door and window of our freestanding festive cabin contains a delightfully sweet treat to be savoured by the young, or young at heart. It makes a perfect pre-Christmas gift for anyone with a sweet tooth. What better way to build that Christmas spirit without overstretching the purse strings? It also makes a wonderful precursor if a Swizzels sweets hamper is going to be among the gifts on the big day.
And you know what? Ask any child and they’ll tell you – the joy of the Advent calendar isn’t so much about what’s inside, as that what’s inside is unknown! So, why not get your Christmas gift shopping off to a sweet start, with a Swizzels Christmas Advent Calendar?
Available from the Swizzels online shop, and all good sweets retailers.