1. Advent comes from word 'adventus' in Latin, and signifies 'the coming' of Jesus.
2. The advent period traditionally represents the four Sundays in the run up to Christmas.
3. The first printed advent calendar that we know about was made and sold in 1903 in Germany
4. Advent has been observed for around 1600 years.
5. It used to be a time where some Christians would choose to fast in the run-up to 'Christ-mass'.
6. Althought the modern Christmas colours are usually red and green, the liturgical colour for the church is almost always a vibrant purple.
7. Instead of a calendar, some celebrate advent using an advent wreath, where four candles are placed around a fern wreath and lit on the four Sundays until Christmas.
8. Often, a white candle is on display in the wreath which represents Jesus Christ.
9. Although advent is celebrated in December, many begin their festive preparations beforehand, with Christmas cakes begun as early as October!
10. St Nicholas Day is a very separate holiday to Christmas Day and is celebrated in many mainland European countries on the 6th December.
11. Counting down each day during December began in the mid-19th Century in Germany, where protestants would make a chalk mark on a door representing each day during advent.
12. Paper advent calendars ceased production during World War II to conserve paper when it was heavily rationed.
13. President Eisenhower is often accredited with making advent calendars popular in the US after he was pictured opening one with his grandchildren.
14. Norwegian advent candles are traditionally lit while singing an advent song (both Norwegian & English translations included!).
15. In 1851, the first known advent was made by hand in Germany and it was made from wood.
16. Advent calendars are becoming more creative and unusual every year, with beauty, DYI, and gin advents now available on the market!
17. St Nicholas (Sinterklaas) is celebrated on the 5th December in The Netherlands, the Eve of St Nicholas Day.
18. During the run-up to Christmas in India, families will decorate their homes with banana trees and mango leaves.
19. The world’s smallest advent calendar is on the nanoscale! It was created by scientists using an electron beam to etch festive pictures.
20. In contrast, the World’s largest ever advent calendar was built in 2007 in St Pancras Station, London to mark the station’s refurbishment.
21. Alcohol advent calendars are quickly becoming more and more popular, and they make a perfect gift for a gin/whisky lover in your life!
22. The first Alison Gardiner advent calendar, Christmas in the Village, was created in 2010 and was based in a typical English village.
23. Advent chocolate is said to taste “different” to normal chocolate because its rounded shape causes it to melt faster on our tongues and we savour the flavour more.
24. We think traditional advent calendars are the true stars of the show – perfect for family celebrations and enjoying the countdown to Christmas together!