History of Advent Calendar

History of Advent Calendar

The origin of the Advent Calendar can be traced back to the 19th. Century. The first styles came from the protestant area. So religious families made a chalk line for every day in December until Christmas Eve. The first known Advent Calendar which was made by handwork is from the year 1851.
Other early styles were the Adventclock or the Adventcandle - a candle for each of the 24 days until Christmas, like todays Advent wreath. So in religious families little pictures were hung up on the wall - one for each day in December. An other tradition was to paint chalk strokes on the door, one per day until Christmas Eve.

In 1902 a Christian Bookshop in Hamburg published a Christmas Clock which was very similar to that published 1922 by the St. Johannis printing company. (Dominik Wunderlin, lic.phil. Swizzerland). The Austrian (NÖ) Landesmuseum is mentions the year 1903 as the year of the first printed Advent Calendar. In 1904 an Advent Calendar was inserted in the newspaper "Neues Tagblatt Stuttgart" as a gift for their readers.

In contrast to the above Esther Gajek says that the first printed specimen was made in 1908 by a Swabian parishioner son, Gerhard Lang (born 1881 in Maulbronn, Germany -died in 1974).
When he was a child his mother made him an Advent Calendar with 24 "Wibbele" (little candies) which were stuck on a cardboard. Later Lang was a participator of the printing office Reichhold & Lang. He produced little colored pictures which could be affixed on a cardboard at every day in December. This was the first printed Advent Calendar, although without windows to open, published in 1908. This Calendar was named "Christmas-Calendar" or "Munich Christmas-Calendar". At the beginning of the 20th Lang produced the first Advent Calendars with little doors to open.






Advent Calendar "Traumnacht"
Buy an original print from 1962 - Advent Calendar "Dream Night", designed by famous artist (Peter and the Wolf) Frans Haacken.

At this time as well the Sankt Johannis Printing Company started producing religious Advent Calendars, with Bible Verses instead of pictures behind the doors.

The Advent Calendar`s popularity started to spread round the globe. But Lang had to close his company in the thirties. Until that time he had produced about 30 different designs.
The World War II terminated the success of this German tradition. The cardboard was rationed and it was forbidden to produce Calendars with pictures. The first printed specimen after the war were printed by Richard Sellmer in 1946. This was the Advent Calendar "The Little Lown".

Advent Calendars filled with Chocolate were already available in 1958.