Yes, it’s that time of year again. The weather is bitter but the hot drinks are soothing. You put up the twinkly lights and all the festive decorations, to the sound of cheerful Xmas tunes. That is, until they grate on you.
But by that point, you’ll have a face full of Quality Streets and be swigging your favourite December drink. Because that is the tradition. You know what else has become a tradition? Advent calendars.
Let’s travel all the way back to 1908 in Germany, where the very first printed advent calendar was created by Gerhard Lang. Gerhard was inspired by his mother’s invention. She fashioned a contraption out of cardboard, that sealed tiny treasures like sweets behind each door.
The word Advent has multiple meanings, that fall under the same umbrella like:
- The coming of Christ.
- The season between Advent Sunday (the last Sunday in November) to Christmas day.
So Lang’s mother gifted her son with one sweet each day, from the first of December to the 24th of December to build up to the ENORMOUS feast on the 25th, otherwise known as Christmas day.
In the 40s, printing companies substituted the sweet treat behind each door with a bible verse, on a Borrower – size paper, to place Christianity at the centre of this Christmassy custom.
This is now a tried and tested tradition that is adored the world over. There’s even a choccy conglomerate you may have heard of called Cadbury that began their yuletide adventure (see what I did there?) in 1971.
It has now become second nature that by December first, we’re ripping open day 1 for the petite package that is our snacky saviour through this AMAZING weather.
Yes, it’s amazing if you want to do a Joey Tribbiani and wear a bajillion layers of clothing at all times but I digress…
… The point is, the season is not officially underway without an advent calendar. It’s like saying “forget the festive feast, just have some cream crackers instead” or if there were no family bust ups at Christmas, which are ALWAYS more entertaining than the cheesy films. Keep the cheese for the crackers please.
Many decades on since the biblical beginnings of this now holy parcel, a host of other companies have jumped on the trend to sell their products during the sparkly season. Companies outside of the typical Food and Beverage fields.
If you think about it, each door holds a sample of a product from that company to tease you to buy the larger real thing, potentially in the Boxing Day or January sales, if you find it. I respect the clever marketing tactic and have fallen for it myself.
Last year I had the Yankee Candle advent calendar, with each door possessing either a tealight or votive candle scented with classic Christmas flavours and one big door in the centre yielded a stylish candle holder. I was completely sold. I bought three large Yankee Candles for £27.00 (altogether) the following month.
So why are advent calendars such a big business? Because you get a surprise treat every day for three and a half weeks and think “ooh, I could do with a proper one of those, I’ll get in the sales”. You manifest that plan and put it into action.
Simply put; we wouldn’t know the main products exist without advent calendars. They are the small purchase, that trail of breadcrumbs, that lead towards the big sales boom every year. That’s why they are such a big business.
Which advent calendars did you have this year? Let me know in the comments section below.