How Do You Start An Advent Calendar? The Internet Is Divided On This Important Issue

The internet likes to argue about things. This is nothing new. But, some of the arguments that take place on the internet are more important than others. But none are more relvant than the debate surronding how one starts an advent calendar, especially as it directly affects the way many are going to spend December. The holidays are coming, folks, and it seems no one can properly agree on how to start an advent calendar that will count down to them.

For some clarification, what I mean when I say advent calendar is a product or even a challenge that requires you to either consume or mark off a new item every day. There's this tea advent calendar — a new tea for every day leading up to Christmas — by DAVIDsTEA, for instance, and this wine advent calendar — a new wine for 12 days leading up to the holidays — by Vinebox, amongst others. In the cases of these, the question is this: Would one start the advent calendar with the highest number (so, 24 in the case of the DAVIDsTEA product) an count down to one, or begin with one and count up to the highest number?

It seems the internet is torn. Half seem to believe that the calendars should begin with a one, while the other half seem to believe you begin with the highest number. I mean, the debates are endless. Like, if you do a quick Google search, you'll find people begging message boards for guidance with headings like, "HELP! IMPORTANT QUESTION PERTAINING TO HOLIDAY ADVENT CALENDAR" and a tone that feels of the same intensity as one from a dog owner posting a question to a message board after their dog eats something that's not meant for dogs. Yes, with the approaching holidays, the quest to find answers regarding the advent calendar are dire. And why not? Whether you're gifting someone a calendar or getting your own, you want to do it right. You want to approach the holidays with a sense of clarity. And yet, we can't agree on it.

So, in order to get to the bottom of this debate, we have to look at the history of the advent calendar. As Mental Floss pointed out, the practice may stem from the mid-19th century, when German Protestants would either place a chalk tally on their doors for each day leading up to Christmas, or light a new candle each day to gather a collection of 24 lit candles. According to this theory, the advent would begin with one on the first. Later, the first printed advent calendar, (most commonly associated with Gerhard Lang who began printing them in the early 1900s) followed the same suit. Since then, tea, cookie, candy, and beer companies alike have created their own versions of the advent calendar. The question the internet is struggling with however, is if you start with the first box and work your way towards the highest number, or if you see the boxes as a countdown and work your way backwards.


If we are to use the historical context, it seems that the proper way to work through an advent calendar is starting on with the box labeled: one. The point of the calendar is not to countdown, but rather to count up towards the days before Christmas. Think about it this way: if you were going to use candles for your advent calendar, you'd want to end up with 24 lit candles, not one. So, work your way up through your print calendar as well! Hope that settles it.

Image: Pixabay, Giphy