There is something special about counting down the days until Christmas and using an Advent Calendar can be a fun way to do that. Most Advent calendars traditionally begin on December 1 and run through December 24 or 25. There are various styles ranging from a daily scripture to a daily piece of chocolate. The version I used growing up was a cardboard box with 24 little doors on it. Inside each little compartment was a small Christmas ornament. We would put them on a miniature Christmas tree each day. My sister and I would take turns opening the little doors before we left on the school bus in the morning and before church on Sundays. (After we grew up the cardboard box started to fall apart so my mother replaced it with a wooden box with 24 doors designed for an Advent calendar).


My sister has this advent calendar. Each day you get a little magnet which attaches to the front of the advent calendar. By the Christmas Eve all the magnets together form a Nativity scene.

As I’ve said before, this is really more about process rather than product. The point is to take the time to acknowledge the day, rather than how exactly you go about it. Some families have little slips of paper in 24 envelopes, each with an Advent scripture to be read aloud. It can be that simple.


Jackie Lawson’s Animated Advent Calendar

Advent’s calendars can also be non-religious in nature. My mom purchases a fun online advent calendar from Jacquie Lawson each year. Each day there is a little Christmas themed animations that my kids and I click on to watch. It’s all about presents, decorating and snow, usually with some gingerbread people, teddy bears, cats and dogs thrown in. It’s a fun little tradition that my children enjoy. Usually the day after Christmas they sit down at the computer with my husband and watch all 25 over again.

Sparkle Stories Audio Advent Calendars

We’ve fallen in love with Sparkle Stories and they have two different Advent audio Advent calendars to choose from. Martin and Sylvia is one of our favorite Sparkle programs and we’ve used Martin and Sylvia’s audio advent calendar for the last two years. We also tried out the Junkyard Tales Advent calendar last year and enjoyed it as well. While these aren’t religious in nature, they do support a magical view of Christmas and helps to preserve the wonder of the season rather than just feed the materialism.


Anticipation is half the fun and finding a special way to count down each of the days until Christmas can help put our focus on something beyond the presents we hope to receive on the big day.

(Also, to carry the Christmas cheer into the New Year check out Martin & Sylvia’s 12 Days of Christmas)

Have you used an Advent calendar before? What was you favorite?