© Jürgen Fälchle / fotolia.com

Instead of little presents in calendars, joyful anticipation before Christmas in the 19th century was celebrated by wiping out 24 chalk lines one after the other until Christmas Day. © Jürgen Fälchle / fotolia.com

3-2-1- FUN

The first Gift Calendar that counts down

Whoever believes that advent calendars always have to have 24 little doors is mistaken. Hamburg-based product developer for packaging solutions “pacproject” came up with a sophisticated idea. They designed the first countdown calendar that no longer counts upwards but down. “The idea came to our mind when a customer asked us to once completely re-think classic advent calendars. One thing was clear from the outset: we have to part with those classic little doors”, explains Jörg Kuhlmann, Consulting Director at “pacproject”. A partner for the implementation was also found quickly. This year sees the developers together with “ANL Plastics” present the calendar consisting of cardboard and deep-drawn plastic trays to the trade audience for the first time.

The mode of operation is simple: the calendar works like a wheel of fortune positioned behind the cardboard cover. Through a punched hole the wheel can be turned with a finger to the next number. At the same time, the sweets, gifts or surprises fall into the recess at the bottom. The possible applications for this calendar are extremely versatile – it can hold up to 31 presents thereby “sweetening” the waiting period until Christmas, the weeding, the birth of your grand-child etc. ...

Calendars without doors boast a big advantage: kids cannot secretly cheat and see what is hidden behind the doors. © pacproject

Calendars without doors boast a big advantage: kids cannot secretly cheat and see what is hidden behind the doors. © pacproject

© pacproject

There are numerous applications for Countdown Calendars. Be it weddings, birthdays, or anniversaries – whenever waiting times for an event need to be “sweetened”, this calendar comes in handy. © pacproject

Where did the idea of advent calendars actually originate from?

People say that advent calendars go back to the 19th century and are rooted in Christian customs. Originally, people did not count from 1 – 24 but – as with our countdown calendar – downwards. Instead of small gifts, 24 chalk lines were wiped out one after the other until Christmas Eve.

Gerhard Lang, the son of a Swabian pastor and later publisher, is said to have invented the door-based calendar we have become so accustomed to. Based on his mother’s idea of placing 24 little pastries on a piece of cardboard, he developed the first printed advent calendar back in 1908.

Only 50 years later the chocolate industry discovered the enormous market potential and produced the first advent calendars containing chocolate. Since then there have been a multitude of versions on sale: filled with photos, individual chocolates, pralines, toys – and soon also without any little doors.

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