The draw to the advent calendar is something of a mystery to me. The count down to Christmas is marked each day with a piece of candy or other some such treat. The day of Christmas or possibly on the eve thereof, the treat is much grander. Some advent calendars are more focused on Christ while others tend toward the more commercial. Either way the result is nearly the same - a count-down of days, varying in length.
Advent calendars have even made it into popular Christmas carols. We all know the first few days of the twelve Days of Christmas. I tend to get a little mixed up when the drummers are drummin' and the maids are a milkin' and the pipers are a pipin'. I get tongue-tied too when trying to recite everything on that last day of Christmas. Boy, whoever this gal's lover was, he set a pretty high bar for gift giving.
I've made my own advent calendar, using a string of pockets inside which I placed a scripture and a thought related to Christmas. Of this sort of advent calendar I actually made two versions. One version was more LDS-centric while the other was less so. These I gave out as a pre-Christmas present of sorts one year.
The best Advent Calendars are those homemade creations for our loved ones. I think that is what has ruined all other Advent Calendars for me. My Grandmother made an Advent Calendar for my Parents when I was very young. A simple depiction of a Christmas tree on a flour sack dish towel sewn together on a dowel for hanging. The tree would be decorated with a single ornament each day from December 1 through December 24. On Christmas Day, a note from Santa written in my Grandmother's precise hand presented a Holiday wish. Reading this became as much a part of my Christmas as anything else.
I cannot say how many times the ornaments have been replaced through the years and I tend to lose interest in the daily decorations but the Christmas Day note is still something I enjoy. The glimpse into my childhood and the memories of my grandmother continue to be a very important part of my Christmas morning.