Advent Calendars were a special part of Christmas during my childhood as we eagerly counted down the days to Christmas morning. Our calendars were beautifully painted and always retained the same simple concept. The cardboard calendar was backed with fine, almost tissue like paper, and each little window opened onto a small picture.
I still have two of my original calendars from the mid 60's. I've included them both here. There were always 24 windows with the final one a double size that always contained a nativity scene. I think there were two variations of the nativity scene but the calendars I have both contain the same one shown below.
I think the pictures concealed behind each little window remained the same over the years. All that varied was the order in which they appeared. There was always great anticipation to see which would be revealed next. Those containing angels were my favourites.
It was my mom who had the foresight to put these calendars back in their envelopes and pack them away for me to discover again in recent years. The envelopes are just as special a memory as the calendars themselves with the same lovely appealing artwork.
A couple of years ago I bought the calendar shown below. I couldn't resist it when I saw it as it reminded me so much of the ones I knew as a child. It has a beautiful and very intricate scene that looks to be a romantic representation of times past from the early 20th century. Although I haven't shown any here, the pictures behind each window are just as pretty and appear to be from the same era.
I was interested to notice that both this calendar and my original two are from Germany. This later one was made by Richard Sellmar Verlag. My earlier calendars have no other acknowledgement other than that they were printed in West Germany.
Because it was something so special to me I have carried on the tradition of Advent Calendars with my own son. When he was four I bought him this one shaped like a Christmas wreath. It is quite large so I've just shown a corner here.
This calendar conceals an assortment of Christmas decorations and 3 tiny little books. One contains the poem of 'The Night Before Christmas'. Although we've had it now for almost 10 years we still take out this particular calendar every year and hang the decorations daily on our tree. (It was made by Canada with thanks to Heritage Canada.)
For my son's generation an Advent Calendar is not an Advent Calendar unless it it filled with chocolate! Even though he will be 14 next year he was still looking forward to this year's offering. I bought him one with a Where's Wally theme and have to confess that it took me the longest out of the three of us to find Wally in the picture!