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Advent calendars are a popular way to count the days until Christmas, and they come in all shapes and sizes these days.

There are the ever popular chocolate calendars that give the user a piece of candy every day of the season; countdown timers based on popular movies or TV shows; calendars that reveal other goodies like coffee or wine every day; or children’s calendars in which they will find a new toy every day.

Advent is a season of Christian reflection that marks the roughly four weeks leading up to Christmas Day, with countdowns starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and counting down on December 1.

USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin asked readers to share their Advent calendars. These Wisconsinites have come up with their own ideas that include fun and sentimental homemade calendars to share with family and friends, and calendars that share memories or encourage giving and reflection.

Calendars can help make the season more meaningful

The St. Thomas More Catholic Community Service and Justice Commission in Appleton is giving Advent calendars its own twist. Instead of the user getting a treat every day until Christmas, they give some to others.

One of the calendars they hand out to parishioners calls on people to donate produce to their sister St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Neopit. The calendar suggests a new item each day, including food and personal hygiene items, that people should consider donating.

The Second Commission Calendar encourages people to do a random act of kindness or think about something in their lives. The timeline includes actions such as donating to charity, leaving a care package or gift on a friend’s porch, doing something good for the environment, and identifying three things you are thankful for. that day.

Dar DeBruin-Hein, a member of the commission, said last year was the first time they distributed calendars to parishioners and the St. Francis Xavier Catholic school system. She said they wanted to give people a way to refocus on the reason for the season.

“We wanted to give them ideas for something they might not think of doing, like writing a thank you note to their USPS employee or smiling at someone who seems to need it,” said DeBruin-Hein. “I really hope they enjoy it and I hope they get what they can from both calendars. I hope they find something to make their holiday season more meaningful and fun.”

At Evergreen Retirement Community in Oshkosh, residents get into the holiday spirit with a unique Advent calendar tradition.

In 2014, the spiritual life committee of the retired community organized the first Advent devotion. Each calendar day contains an article written by a resident, friend or family member, or staff member. The entries cover topics such as Christmas, Advent, a Bible verse or a memory.

Luella Remmel, a resident of the retired community for over 15 years, is one of the editors of the devotions.

Remmel, 92, said making devotional calendars can be stressful but rewarding. After compiling all the entries, Remmel edits the pages and another resident does the proofreading. They put them in a booklet that is distributed to around 700 people, including staff and residents, Remmel said.

“It’s dear to my heart,” said Remmel. “Not just devotion. I’m involved and I love doing these things that can affect people in different ways.

Homemade calendars make the season bright

Some readers have created their own Advent calendars which they use each year and share with family and friends.

Clara Gorski of Mosinee uses an Advent calendar that her sister, Erma Huebsch, made in the early 1960s. When turned over, each square of the calendar reveals a person, animal or object involved in the Nativity scene. , from the baby Jesus to Mary, Joseph and the three wise men.

And Diana Goen, a member of The Button Buds of Northeastern WI, created a calendar with the group using buttons to count days. Calendars eventually evolved into bingo cards. Goen said she started using the cards with her granddaughter and nieces and nephews. They can win prizes throughout the season, she said.

Calendars can also be tailored to the user’s interests and also include cards for other holidays, Gorski said. From dogs and treats to angels and snowmen, there’s a theme for every member of the family.

One of the Christmas bingo cards created by Diana Goen and other members of The Button Buds.

Contact reporter Melissa Siegler from USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin at [email protected]ett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ Marie2Melissa.

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