This is our advent calendar:
Like almost all other advent calendars I've ever seen, it counts the days until Christmas*.
This is my niece's advent calendar:
Since her actual advent calendar is in storage**, she and her dad came up with an idea to take things she already had, put them in groups and use those groups to count down to the big day***. When she got to 16 she stopped and looked proudly at their handiwork. Puzzled, her mom reminded her that Christmas was on December 25th. "I know that, Mommy!" she said. "My advent calendar is a countdown to California."
Did I mention they'll be here on the 16th? I know because our advent penguin is on the case****.
* I finally learned to put the treats in each cubby one day at a time. Otherwise my kids just opened all the doors on December 1, stuffed themselves and got irritated when I didn't refill them. Then I got irritated with them and the whole Christmas spirit thing was kind of lost.
** They are still in limbo as my brother-in-law house hunts in DC while my sister and niece hang out in Michigan.
*** Each day they take those items and pack them for the trip.
**** Also I get phone calls. In one recent call, my sister told me about their Thanksgiving. Her husband was home, and the three of them went around the table saying what they were thankful for. My sister said she was grateful to have the family together. My brother-in-law said he was glad that everyone was healthy and safe. My niece said she was thankful that she was going to California soon. :-)