I was in Aldi the other day and I bought my cat, Cort, an Advent calendar with cat treats. I asked my friend Kelly how an Advent calendar worked and she said I was supposed to give him a treat from behind each number for that day in December. Cort suggested that we rip them all open now. I decided to do a little research.
It seems that the modern day Advent Calendar emerged from Protestant Christian context. Advent is from the Latin word adventus, meaning arrival or coming. Beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas day and leading up to December 25, Advent is intended to be the time in which to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.
The popularity of Advent calendars spread with the help of a German printer named Gerhard Lang. Having grown up with a homemade calendar, Lang began designing cardboard Advent calendars around the turn of the century and, later in the 1920s, came up with the idea of cutting out little doors that could be opened each day.
Behind each door, a devotional picture or Bible verse was hidden. With this innovation, Lang is considered the father of the modern Advent calendar.