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Embracing the Advent Calendar: a tradition for Dutch families 

As the festive season continues,, I want to share with you an interesting tradition that has found a special place in many European homes, including those of interracial families like ours. It's the Advent calendar - a delightful countdown to Christmas that offers a unique blend of anticipation and joy, particularly popular in Germany and embraced by the Netherlands. Interested in its history? Let’s see how this started and why it adds a sprinkle of European charm to a holiday season.

The Historical Charm of Advent Calendars

The tradition of the Advent calendar dates back to 19th-century Germany. It started as a simple way to mark the days leading up to Christmas. Early versions involved lighting candles or marking walls. However, it was Gerhard Lang who, inspired by his mother's homemade calendar, created the first printed Advent calendar in the early 1900s. These calendars had 24 doors or windows, each hiding a picture or a verse, to be opened one per day leading up to Christmas.

Advent Calendars in Germany: A Festive Staple

In Germany, the Advent calendar is as much a part of Christmas as the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market). German families often gather each evening to open a new door of their Advent calendar. These calendars range from simple paper ones with festive images to elaborate creations featuring chocolates, toys, or even beauty products for a daily treat. The ritual of opening a door each day is more than a countdown; it’s a way to savor the anticipation and inject a little joy into the everyday.

How the Dutch Embraced This Tradition

Alot of Dutch families have lovingly adopted this German tradition, adding their own twist. For example, you might find Advent calendars with typical Dutch winter scenes or even ones filled with tiny Stroopwafels! Recently, I’ve even received an Advent Calendar with all 24 doors each with a surprise Tony’s Chocolonely flavor inside! It's a testament to how traditions can travel and evolve, resonating with people across cultures.

Advent calendars are simple yet it fills one with joy and excitement, especially the little ones. As a foreign mom, adopting our interracial family to this local tradition can be a delightful way to feel more connected to the Netherlands.. The Advent calendar offers a unique opportunity for families like ours, to participate in local customs, definitely fostering a sense of belonging.

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