In England, the Christmas season officially begins with Advent. Advent is the month before Christmas day. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas day. By definition, “advent” means arrival. It is a religious time which gives people of the Christian faith time to prepare for the arrival of Jesus.

One of the very first decorations that many homes put is an advent calendar. You might be familiar with the advent calendar. It is a very special calendar with small doors that you can open. Traditionally, behind each door is a picture or a verse celebrating Christianity and the Christmas season. In modern times, the calendars have changed quite a bit and the pictures can be about almost any subject matter. Children often make their own advent calendars. The boys might hide pictures of bikes or motorcars behind the doors and the girls might hide pictures of dolls or pictures of their favorite pop stars. Children will often make calendars for each other.

Each day, for 24 days prior to Christmas, the children will open one door on the calendar to reveal a hidden surprise picture. Some of the more adventurous children will hide a clue behind each door. The clue could be a puzzle by itself such as a treasure map leading to a surprise or a box of chocolates. Or, the clues might be cumulative leading to the final clue on Christmas Eve which leads to a larger present.

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