In Germany the time from December 1st to December 24th is called “Adventszeit”, which means the time before Christmas Eve. Parents give their children calendars that count down the days. Every day in December they can open one of the doors and receive either a small chocolate in the shape of a star, a tree, or a little toy. These calendars just make the wait to Christmas Eve a little easier.
The four weeks leading up to Christmas Eve are a happy time – at least for those who believe in the beautiful history of Christmas and willing to make this time of the year even more charming. This day in Germany many families set up an Advent wreath, or Adventskranz on the first Advent Sunday (the fourth before Christmas) to start the Advent season. A typical Advent wreath is made of evergreen branches and decorated with red-green tapes, pine cones and four candles, one for each week of Advent. Traditional families still gather around the wreath on each Advent Sunday to light the next candle and sing Christmas carols. This was even more important in the past, when the Christmas tree was usually reserved for a special unveiling only on Christmas Eve. Until then, the Advent wreath provided the evergreen look and special festive aroma in the house.