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German Advent Calendars and Cards

Many Germans will set up an Advent wreath, typically a horizontal evergreen wreath with four candles, or occasionally five, with a white candle placed in the center. One candle is lit on each of the four Sundays proceeding Christmas. Advent calendars, which count down the 24 days before Christmas, are also a German tradition. These calendars first originated there in the 19th century. Early calendars consisted of 24 candles, 24 small pictures hung up on the wall, 24 painted chalk strokes on the door, or wreaths with 24 decorated boxes or bags hanging from them. They quickly gained in popularity. Today’s calendars contain everything from chocolates to small trinkets, or even poems or pictures.