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Region: England, Wales and Northern Ireland


A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

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Christmas: Advent calendars

How has this tradition changed over the years?


Do you have an advent calendar?

Did you know that the first-ever advent calendar had cake in it?

In Germany, at the beginning of December in the second half of the 19th century, a mother cut a cake into 24 pieces and put them onto a piece of cardboard. Her little boy, Gerhard Lang, ate one piece of cake each day until Christmas. That little boy grew up to be a printer.

He always remembered what his mother had done, and in 1903 he made the first advent calendar. It had 24 little windows. Behind each window was a picture of something he had wished for as a child.

Today's advent calendars often have chocolates behind each door. Chocolate is made from beans that grow in some of the world's poorest countries. Many Christians buy Fair Trade advent calendars to make sure that they are following Jesus' teaching of loving their neighbour, especially as they get ready for Christmas.