Thursday, December 1, 2011

Go Big or Go Home

Our Advent Calendar, purchased from Pottery Barn Outlet 10 years ago.

I decided that I would give myself a little challenge, because I do not have enough to worry about right now.  Actually, it is a distraction, more than anything else - as if my ADD mind needs that either.  Actually, it is my ADD mind that actually thought to do this challenge, so it all works out in the end, now doesn't it?

ANYWAY, I am going to give you guys a Christmas tip each day.  Sometimes they will be positive, but rest assured, most of the time, there will be recommendations, cloaked in suppressed anger, dripping with sarcasm, with just a sprinkling of veiled insults on the top.  You know, your usual post, just Christmas oriented.

I hope you enjoy it and I hope that you can use some of these tips and then credit me, beeeaaaccchees.

Okay, go big or go home.  Usually, the Advent Calendar is a huge pain in my ass.  I hate all of the crap I have to buy that the kids barely acknowledge, and then I step on it, and break it, after the kids leave for school.  To me, it has always represented the exploitation of a holiday, and commercialism at its very worst.  (Think Sweetheart day status).

However, this year, because of unforeseen circumstances, I have had to reconsider some of my Christmas cheer because of budget concerns.  I went out yesterday to find stuff to fill the advent calendar, times three, which can not only be daunting creatively, but financially as well.  I am always discouraged, too, when the kids frown after rushing to the location that is printed on the slip of paper that I slip into each numbered piece of cloth.  (See pic of advent calendar for explanation.)

I mean, I don't know about YOU, but I tend to try to put a lot of thought into the gifts that I give my kids, and when they take this effort for granted and disrespect the process, I tend to get very disenchanted, and then yell at them for not being grateful.

So this JOYOUS thing, that celebrates the countdown to the birth of Christ, is turned into this tense moment each morning where I anxiously await their response to their advent calendar gift.  Then an all out brawl breaks out if one or two of the three gifts is a different color or size.  Guidance tip: Make sure you specify which child gets which gift or, if you have multiple children, make sure all of the advent gifts are identical, to avoid this unpleasant scenario.

Maybe, YOUR children are entirely respectful, and would never think to insult their mother the way mine do, and just maybe your children are made of angel dust, and were brought to life by the shear will of your love, but I am willing to bet that you have all had similar experiences and luckily, for you, I am here to navigate the treacherous Christmas waters for you.

Okay, another thing I changed this year, is to tell the children that every 5th day, they will get a TOY in their advent calendar pouch, and in between they will receive inspirational messages from me.  Just kidding, in between they get candy or chocolate to start their day.

That way, I was able to spend more on those five (x 3) gifts and it gives them something to look forward to.  Also, that way (genius in my eyes) they will be more appreciative of each gift.  See?  In between, each gift they KNOW they will be receiving candy or chocolate, so there is no disappointment there.

I am not a total louse or sucker, (which is yet to be determined, I guess) because I got the candy that I am supplementing their Advent Calendar with, at my favorite local candy/lunch place, The Chocolate Cafe - (
Chocolate Cafe chocolate covered pretzels and "reindeer nose" cherry malted milk balls.  Yummy!

I go there because I LOVE the owner, and she is totally rill ( see post: for definition explanation) and today when I went there we had this great conversation about how Thanksgiving SUCKS and when I told her how all three of my children asked for Pizza Lunchables, 45 minutes after Thanksgiving dinner was over, she concurred that the actual dinner of Thanksgiving is a huge sham and that next year she is "just going to order pizza and be done with it."

I LOVE HER.  She is on my team.  You see, here is the THANG, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to buy from local small business owners who are in it like the rest of us - just trying to make a go of it, with a dream and hard work and the tenacity to keep things going, even in the face of adversity.  I am not gonna lie, though, it helps if they have my same cynical attitude, and they are able to laugh at the absurdities of life.

Okay, here are some examples of advent calendars I have in my house.  If you are dialing it in, this is for you.
Eves can't WAIT to get her paws on this chocolate each night.

 Actually, my sweet neighbors, The Youngs, provide each child on our block with this chocolate advent calendar every year.  Their children are actually in college, and yet they still spread their Christmas cheer to all of the young children on our street for no apparent reason but to give my children yet another reason to look forward to Christmas.

The picture above was taken post breakdown because Eva could not locate the number "1" that housed her first piece of advent delight.

My next picture is of Brad's hand-needle-pointed, yes, I said, HAND needle pointed advent calendar that his mother gave me (she did three of them) that I now use for our dog, Scarlett.  She must die a little death each time she comes into my house at Christmastime, and I don't blame her.

Elaine, our last dog, would stand below it for hours upon end, while drool pooled from each side of her mouth.  Scarlett did the same thing tonight.  AHHHH, Christmas memories.  You just never know where you will find them.

Poor photo quality, again. Who cares?

Okay.  Here are the gifts I purchased from Larson's, another local small business.  I'll let you know if they appreciate them, after this years' Advent Calendar Experiment.  I will try and provide video.

A great book and play, if you are able to see it.  Setting myself up for a huge disappointment.

Flashing light floating bullshit toothbrushes.  My attempt at being the perfect Mom.

Cute hairbands for all.   They look really tight fitting so they can all scream when I am doing their pigtails.  NIIICCCEEE.  Beauty hurts.

Bike horns.  Plan on stealing one of these, when they forget about them in the fray of Christmas.

Vera Bradley notebooks and pencils.  Did not get them at Larsons.  Two to a pack.  Gonna use the extra for myself, natch.

Magic worm bullshit.  I vividly remember playing with these for hours with my brother.  The girls will not like them, Fo Sho.

Gund critters.  Securing an argument and eventual breakdown by providing one that is not like the others.  Can't wait for the riot.  Intend on giving the white one to my "favorite child" which will be announced that morning before school.

Enjoy the Holiday Season, y'all!  Just KNOW that you are not the only one suffering disappointment and disillusionment this Christmas!  Just remember with the Advent Calendar - go big or go home, and try and build their anticipation by denying them their right to a gift each day.

Let's see if it works!  I'll keep you posted with my posts.  Wish me luck on having a daily post.  I am getting this first one out at 11 o'clock in the evening amidst the stomach flu.

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