On November 15, many Orthodox Christian families will begin a journey to the Feast of the Nativity which is celebrated as Christmas in the US and Canada, on December 25. The Feast is preceded by a fast which, while not as strict as Lent, is observed as a kind of winter lenten season in preparation for the coming of Christ at His birth.
Christians who grew up celebrating western Christmas observed four Sunday of Advent, a period of preparation for the celebration on December 25, but Orthodox Christians commemorate the six Sundays of Advent which fall in the forty days of preparation.
The Orthodox Advent calendar is a helpful teaching tool; homemade calendars or ones ordered online can aid parents as they assist their children in preparing for the Feast of the Nativity. Doors opening each day highlight art, saints or scriptures that tell the story of the season, and kids often look forward to seeing what is behind the next door as the countdown to Christmas continues.