As we enter the last few months of the year there is one thing on everyone’s mind’s – Christmas. The weather gets cooler, shops begin to play Christmas music, baubles are put on display and children (and adults) begin to dream about their perfect advent calendar. For some people, their dream advent calendar is full of beauty products. Some might enjoy a drink in theirs or even a different gift for each day. For most people, a classic chocolate advent calendar is the way forward. Picking your favourite chocolate and getting to taste it every morning, what more could you want.

Well, the people of Gengenbach in Baden-Württemberg have taken the advent calendar concept and pushed it one step further. For over 20 years, this quaint town in the Black Forest has transformed its town hall into a stunning advent calendar for the locals to enjoy. The 24 windows in the town hall are each decorated with a different Christmas scene. As the month goes on each window is lit up on its corresponding day, giving the residents of the town something new and festive to admire in the lead up to Christmas.

Hundreds of thousands of people visit Gengenbach each year, yet a huge proportion visit to see the advent calendar reveals. Each reveal is eagerly anticipated each day, yet no day is bigger than the 1st of December. The town hall is warmly lit up, waiting for the residents and visitors of Gengenbach to line the town square for the first reveal.

At around 6 pm, the senses get awakened. Firstly, by scent as the spicy aromas of glühwein is wafted through the frosty air. Then the 200-year-old town hall is lit up in all its glory before the big reveal. After this, the first door gets opened in a truly theatrical way. The doors of the window get flung open to reveal the magical scene of the day. The scene might have been created by a world-famous artist or be inspired by a well-known story such as The Gruffalo. Whatever is behind those famous windows, it is sure to bring a smile to the faces of the residents and visitors alike.

The lead up to this Christmas spectacle in Gengenbach begins months in advance, with meticulous planning going into each window and plenty of time taken to ensure each scene is perfect. To ensure everyone gets to see the final advent calendar it gets left up until January 6th.