As the holiday season approaches, with its numerous celebratory traditions, families often take the time to reflect on their favorite memories of past gatherings, and to feel the stirrings of anticipation, as the joy and wonder that is to come, begins to emerge. The beliefs, actions, stories, memories, customs and yes, even legends, that each generation shares with the next, over many decades, and lifetimes, although immaterial monetarily, and often more spiritual than physical, are treasures of inestimable value for those who share special moments, during this time of gladness, giving, and religious fervor.
Great Expectations Counting Down to Christmas
No matter what your chronological age is, the holidays bring out the childhood exuberance that is alive and well within us, always. The awe and wonder of the season, when magic and miracles surround us, is the perfect time to reflect on our valued past experiences, and cherish with renewed energy, the magic of moments to come, when tradition is upheld and continued in ways invented by each family.
The advent calendar creates the perfect occasion to bring the anticipation of Christmas, the fun, surprise and unexpectedly deepening feelings of family love and kindness into all twenty-four days.
In the Beginning
As far back as the Middle Ages, Advent, a word which is derived from the Latin word “adventus”, and is defined as “coming”, was a time of preparation for baptisms into the Christian faith, which lasted 40 days, and was devoted to prayer, fasting and penance, which culminated in a religious ceremony in January, each year. Scholars of this event have determined that by the Sixth Century, Roman Christians had begun to associate advent with Christ’s birth and Christmas.
The Advent traditions which evolved over many centuries, came from the loving spirit of the holiday season, as visual symbols of the hope, love, peace and joy which Christmas represents. Families used simple greenery, to create round wreaths as a symbol of everlasting life. Four candles were placed within the wreath and each one was lit, on one of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The colors of the candles varied, as did the shapes and sizes of each wreath, as every celebrant family had their own version of what they felt expressed their joy, happiness, and spirituality.
Chalk Marks, Candlelight and Opened Doors
In the early 1900’s, a popular tradition among many people in Germany was to count the number of days until Christmas by making a chalk mark on their doorway or lighting a candle for each day from December 1st until Christmas Day. Gerhard Lang a loved this process but wanted this centuries’ old, Advent activity to be even more enjoyable. He created the very first printed Advent calendar in Germany. He felt that celebrating Advent, one day at a time, was the perfect way to prepare each person’s heart and mind for the magnificence of this most special holiday. Gerhard’s Advent creations were crafted with 24 colorful holiday images attached to a cardboard frame. Each numbered date on his calendar included a small paper door/opening and inside was a bible verse, beautiful holiday imagery, or tasty chocolate candy. Gerhard’s advent calendars were instantly popular and became a commercial success. Today, more than 100 years since his first offering, most advent calendars still have the highly popular door feature which heightens the surprise element of this historic and treasured holiday tradition.
Advent Calendar Evolution
As family time continues to be a most cherished and vitally important aspect of living an authentic and happy life in this first quarter of the 21st Century, which is also the 3rd millennium A.D. ; the Advent calendar has continuously updated to keep this family tradition and the holiday spirit of anticipation growing for everyone, religious or a true supporter of love, charity and kindness. The newest calendar versions include images for the 24 days, viewable on the Hubble telescope, a Lego and Star Wars version for fans of these games, a Web Geeks type that offers design and programming tips, and even huge, and giant size games with luxury prizes for affluent calendar fans.
Newest of the New
The Lucky Poke Games has added this treasured family favorite holiday activity to their amazing, stylized, and surprise filled game offerings, just in time for the holidays. Often, these unboxing games are shared by families as a mystery reward for great effort, achievement, academic excellence, sporting victories, family night fun, and birthday celebrations. The Lucky Poke Games celebrate a child’s curiosity, and know that touching, poking, and prying are the youngest version of “hands on” research for every child. Everyday is a gift when the whole family spends time together, and at the holidays, this new Advent game, with 24 doors to poke open, offers even more special memory making moments for the entire family, friends and extended family too.
Letting Family Time Shine at the Holidays
As family traditions thrive, get re-invented, are newly established during celebrations, or just evolve as bonds grow stronger, and happiness grows; the methods chosen to commemorate special moments like the Advent days, can be designed to fit each unique family’s most enjoyable activities. Many people:
• Design their holiday décor to include: An Advent wreath crafted of greens from their own environs
• Light candles in the purple, white and lavender of these 24 inspiring days, or colors they hold sacred
• Listen to the incredible genre of holiday music from classical to carols
• Cook and bake together the delicious foods of the season
• Create an atmosphere of gratitude and thankfulness for blessings
• Give gifts of love and volunteer services to their neighbors and community
• Attend services at Church
• Read about the history of Advent and it’s evolution
• Plan special family moments to honor each other and the Advent season
• Play the “new” Lucky Poke Advent Game to make this season and those to come a tradition to cherish.
Lucky Poke Games has a wish for everyone, no exceptions: May the blessing of Thanksgiving, the coming Advent Season, Christmas or your very special family holiday celebrations be filled with love, laughter, gratitude, and great joy!