Christmas, or Advent calendars have been around as long as anyone can remember. Antti’s digital Christmas Calendar especially customized for Finntimes readers can be found at the end of this story.
An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas. Many take the form of a large rectangular card with “windows” of which there are usually 24: one for each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. The doors are opened starting with the first one. Consecutive doors are opened every day leading up to Christmas. The calendar windows open to reveal an image, poem, a portion of a story or a small gift, such as a toy or a chocolate item. Some calendars are strictly religious, whereas others are secular in content.
Now Antti Kiljunen has come up with an updated version of this timeless classic. Finntimes is proud to announce that our readers have been chosen as test subjects for Antti’s Christmas Calendar of the 21st century. And here is the man behind the invention:
-I’m 33 year-old guy, originally from Paimio, southwest Finland. I graduated from Turku University, earning a B.S. in Business Administration. I now live in Espoo and work in Helsinki in the Financial/IT sector. My current job title is “Solutions Specialist”. I live with my fiancée and two crazy dogs. Right now I am anxiously waiting for our child to be born. That should take place in about two weeks from now.
For the past three years Antti has been fine tuning his invention.
-In the beginning there was no software component in the concept. It was all about the physical calendar. Then I realized you can use either the physical or digital version of the calendar, or both. The idea was to create the ultimate Christmas calendar. It would be something different from the ones on the market – educational and as customized as possible. So, I ordered luggage locks from China and bought hinges and lots of wood from a local hardware store and built the first prototype.
Antti has already had some publicity for his invention in Finland.
-I contacted a radio reporter from the Finnish Broadcasting Company, the channel that I listen on my way to work. Why him? Because by coincidence one morning he was talking about his tradition of making a Christmas calendar “box” for his kids every year – a big locked box that has a new surprise in it every morning. That’s sweet, I thought. This guy will like my idea for sure. And he did. We met and I gave him a prototype for testing. It was a huge hit with his three boys. This Christmas the reporter will pilot the current version of calendar.
Antti is currently testing his calendar.
-Last Christmas I got nine more pilot families to test the physical calendar. Now that I have the software too, they will use that with the physical calendar. A few companies, families and communities will pilot the digital only version, since it can be used as “stand alone”, without the physical calendar. Companies can insert digital sales coupons, company info, or season’s greetings for their customers. Families can insert texts like “Good Mike! That is the right answer. Now look in to the upper left closet in kitchen.”
Parents have hidden candies, coins, or small items to be found by kids who know the right answers. The questions are adaptable to the children’s skill level, so the calendar can be used with kids of all ages. Questions can be educational or social, like: “What is the register number of Granddad’s car?” Seldom do kids remember that kind of things, but they must either visit Grandpa, or call him. Either way, Grandpa will be very happy that his grandchildren contact him. Using the combo of physical and digital calendar, when a kid has the correct answer to the day’s question in the digital calendar, he or she gets the right lock combination number : “Way to go Paul! Good job. Open the day’s lock with code 344.”
The inventor got some help from friends and colleagues in creating the software and drawings. He hopes his invention will catch on and be found in stores – both brick and mortar and the internet kind in the future. And how is Mr. Christmas Calendar himself going to spend the holidays?
-We are probably going to stay home with our newborn and ask our relatives to visit us at Christmas.
HERE’S ANTTI’S CHRISTMAS CALENDAR WITH CONTENT FROM FINNTIMES. HAVE FUN!
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW AND ANSWER THE QUESTION EACH DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS EVE. THE PASSWORD IS FINNTIMES. www.virikekalenteri.fi