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Family activity of the week: Get an Advent calendar
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It's less than 25 days until Christmas, and it's time to count down the days with an Advent calendar. - photo by Herb Scribner
Were about to be in the thick of the holiday season. Hanukkah starts Dec. 6 and Christmas is less than 25 days away.

Many families are kicking off the season with Advent, a traditionally Christian celebration of the coming of Christ, which began this past Sunday and lasts until Christmas Eve.

Families celebrate the holiday every year mostly through purchasing Advent calendars which are traditionally boxed calendars with an openable flap that hides a piece of chocolate or candy for children to mark the days until Christmas.

The monthlong celebration has some religious background to it, as its seen mostly as a time to celebrate Christs birthday and the goodness that came through Jesus Christ.

Relatively few Americans, including many Christians, understand what Advent is really about, Eric Metaxas wrote for Break Point. Heres a hint, its more than just a countdown to Christmas. For nearly two millennia, Advent has been the season in which Christians reflect on the bookends of Gods redemptive acts in Christ: His Incarnation and His coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

But Advent isnt just a holiday for the religious to countdown the days to Jesus birth. Many use it as a way to countdown the days until Christmas and get children excited for Santas arrival. In fact, 89 percent of British people use non-Christian Advent calendars to do so.

These sort of calendars often give children toys and pieces of candy every day of the month.

Families can find Advent calendars in their local grocery and department stores, as well as Amazon, which lists plenty of calendars for low prices. Many of these have religious backgrounds, like of the Nativity scene, with them, while others promote mainly the Christmas season.

Twitter is also a great source of Advent calendar ideas, including ones for pets, makeup enthusiasts and DIYers.

Pinterest also has a number of DIY Advent calendars for crafty families.

And this year, families can get into the Advent calendar spirit through apps. PC Advisors called the Christmas Countdown Elf Story (available for Android) the best Christmas countdown app this year, since its a game made for children that aims to get them excited for the coming holiday.

Another app, called Advent 2015, offers a new mini game every day for users until the end of the month, according to PC Advisors.

Similarly, the app 2015 Xmas Music sends users a new holiday tune every day, resulting in an unlocked Christmas day playlist upon reaching the end of the calendar.

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