I like to buy my kids advent calendars. I think it’s fun to count down to the gift frenzy known as Christmas Day, that glorious morning where a Parental Time Zone exists: thanks to our children, we’re up three hours earlier than any other person on holidays.
I grew up with an advent calendar. We used the same one year-after-year. We just shut the windows, pretended they were sealed, and opened them. Because it was used for a decade, it suffered the fate of many a lift-the-flap book: pieces were torn off, taped on, missing, and sometimes chewed.
Maybe my childhood prepared me for my lack of success with advent calendars. Maybe not, but the truth is that there’s usually some crisis involving our countdown.
2007: The first year I decided to buy an advent calendar, I made the mistake of purchasing one. When your twins are three years old, it’s difficult to explain why Thing 2 doesn’t get a chocolate the first day. After the third day of fighting, I hid the calendar. Then when the kids were asleep that night, I ate every chocolate and threw out the calendar. May I just say that an entire advent calendar contains fewer than 200 calories.
2008: I knew I wasn’t going to make that mistake again, so when Vivian and William were four, I bought two. It was a warm end-of-November day, and I put them on the dash of our loser cruiser as I sped around doing other errands, like my monthly habit of paying library fines (which I call “donations”). When I came home, I brought in both calendars and told the kids to wait until the first day of advent. When that day came, they each opened a window to find chocolate blobs, not the Shrek characters that the outside promised.
2009: Last year, I forgot to buy advent calendars in November. So, I picked up two advent calendars a few days into December. I was thrilled they were 50% off, though the savings amounted to a little under a buck. That first night, my kids attempted to “catch up” and gorged themselves on a week’s worth of chocolate. Nothing like encouraging binge behavior at age five.
2010: Given the success of last year, I decided to wait until two weeks into December to buy advent calendars. Maybe this year I’d get 75% off. After visiting five stores, including a dollar store, I filed this parenting mistake in the category of epic fail. Apparently, after the first week of December, they take advent calendars off the shelves.
As a result, due to my incompetence, Vivian and William have no advent calendars this year. But with all my threats to call Santa (he’s on speed dial), they’re more than aware that Christmas is around the corner.
From our chaotic household to yours: happy counting down…