Advent calendar

The Advent calendar is a wonderful way for both children and adults to get in the mood for the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas! At Waldorfshop you will find many different Advent calendars for all ages and tastes. You will also find all the materials you need to design and fill an Advent calendar yourself.


The history of the Advent calendar

The Advent calendar has been around since the 19th century. The basic principle is that it shows the remaining days until Christmas. There are many different designs. The first self-made Advent calendar probably dates back to 1851.

Earlier Advent calendars were quite simple. For example, 24 pictures were hung on the wall one by one. It was even simpler to simply draw 24 chalk lines on the door or wall as an Advent calendar. The children were then allowed to wipe away one line every day. In some Catholic families it was customary to place a straw in the manger every day until Christmas. There was also the Christmas clock or the Advent candle, which was burnt every day until the next mark.

Symbolism of the Advent calendar

As the spiral is an important symbol of Waldorf education, it is also often found on anthroposophical calendars for the Advent season. The path leading inwards also leads back outwards into the community, which is particularly evident in the little Advent garden.

A symbolic meaning is also attached to the evergreen fir tree, which is why this not only plays a role in the little Advent garden, but can also be found on many Waldorf Advent calendars.

The candle, which is consumed by giving light and illuminating the darkness, also speaks for itself and is a significant image not only in the Waldorf kindergarten or school. The candle is therefore an important element of anthroposophical Advent calendars.

The apple, without which there would be no expulsion from paradise and thus no individualisation process, is also often found on Advent calendars for young and old. For younger children, moreover, the animals of the forest often play an important role in Advent.

Waldorf education: The significance of the Advent calendar

Advent is a time of contemplation in which the child also symbolically goes inwards to illuminate its own centre in the Advent light. The spiral, which also leads to the imaginary, own centre, is therefore a very special symbol in Waldorf education, which is also reflected in the little Advent garden.

The Advent calendar with its 24 doors also symbolises the individual steps that lead to one's own centre. With each opened door, more light reaches the inside of the calendar, but also the deepest inside of the soul, which slowly awakens. Thus, like the spiral, the Advent calendar is also a path of individualisation and the search for the light of the world.

Advent calendar in the Waldorf kindergarten and Waldorf school

A bought Advent calendar typically has 24 doors and right from the beginning of December until Christmas. The Waldorf kindergarten's self-made Advent calendar often has more than 24 doors: the anthroposophical contemplation also includes the twelve Holy Nights. Thus, these Waldorf Advent calendars go until 6 January.

In the Waldorf kindergarten, a nativity scene is set up during Advent, which changes week by week and day by day.

In the first week, there are only cloths, mangers, angels and minerals, i.e. stones, on the table. Mary and Joseph take one step forward each day, perhaps even on a path made of golden stars. With each step, the abandoned star moves to a blue cloth behind the seasonal table. In the second week, plants then appear on the seasonal table, in the third week the animals and then shortly before Christmas, i.e. in the fourth week, the shepherds appear. When the children return to the kindergarten from the Christmas holidays, Mary and Joseph have arrived and the child lies in the manger surrounded by people and animals.

You will find a stable, Ostheimer figures and much more for the design of the Advent calendar in the Waldorf kindergarten or at home in the category Nativity.

In our online shop you will find an Advent calendar consisting of 24 surprise nuts filled with precious stones in a cotton bag, of which 2 nuts each in gold and silver for the special days, such as St. Nicholas or Santa Lucia.

In the Waldorf Kindergarten, the Advent garden is a big event every year, the elements of which can also be found in a self-made calendar. In the Waldorf Kindergarten, natural materials are often used to make such an Advent calendar. Often, jute is used and the Advent bags do not always contain something to eat, i.e. chocolate. It may also be an idea for a game that is played on the respective day. A Christmas song or a nice saying can also be hidden in a small bag.

For children from grade 3 onwards, daily riddles are a particularly stimulating element - here a riddle can be hidden behind the "doors" of the Advent calendar every day, which the whole class can puzzle over together. So there is no lack of creative ideas in either the Waldorf kindergarten or the Waldorf school, because creativity is one of the essential values that come out particularly well in the light of Advent and in the search for oneself.

Make your own Advent calendar

It is very easy to make a beautiful Advent calendar yourself. All you need are: 24 small bags, a string, decorative material, Stockmar wax crayons, stamp set, small items to fill.

In Waldorfshop we have created a special section where you can find useful, joy-giving and high-quality little things to fill the calendar with.

In our Youtube video we show you how to create a beautiful Advent calendar yourself.

Another idea for a homemade advent calendar is this one:

During a walk in the forest, 4 branches of about the same size can be taken home. Small jute bags are sewn in no time with the sewing machine and can each be provided with a cord to tie them on. These are attached to the branches with the cord so that 6 little bags hang from each branch. As contents, the titles of wish reading stories can be written on a small card, apples or nuts can also be put into the little bags.

If you like, you can have your child write down 24 small wishes, which are then distributed among the 24 bags. Every day, one of these non-material wishes is fulfilled. Some children may wish for a night hike together under the stars, home-baked biscuits, a children's cooking day or another experience with the family. Sometimes the simple things are the best!