Christmas is one of my favourite times of year, not because I’m particularly religious—in fact, I’m not religious at all—but because I love the trappings of the season, many of which date back to pre-Christian times. I adore the tree and the twinkle lights, the decorations, even the snow on the ground for one day of my life. And of course, the presents. I’ve never been too proud to say that I like getting presents as much as giving them, and if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses can come to my house as many times as they like, but until they lift their weird-ass moratorium on getting gifts, they will never own my eternal soul. But the one concession I make in terms of the more heavily Christian aspect of the holiday season is the Advent calendar. Every year, I buy several different kinds for Ken and Kate. The current favourites are Lego for Ken and Lego Friends for Kate. For a treatise on Lego and sexism, please feel free to go to My Week 266: Toys for Girls and Boys; luckily, Ken and Kate have no issues with ‘girl’ vs. boy’ toys and Ken’s Lego snowman is holding a pink and purple boombox decorated with hearts, while Kate’s Lego girl figure is wielding a sword (and why there’s even a sword in an Lego Advent calendar is a mystery for another day). I also got them your standard Lindt chocolate calendars, one of which I had also purchased for myself but then gave away to my nephew, leaving me sans Advent-ure.

And you’d think that SOMEONE in my house would be like, ‘Oh poor you—here, let me buy you an Advent calendar of your own so that you can join in the fun’ but alas, that did not happen. What did happen is that, hopes dashed, I went out at the last minute to get one for my own damn self, but all they had left were Reese’s Peanut Butter calendars. At first read, I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘Why, that’s not so bad’ but let me assure you that after last year’s Reese’s fiasco, I was none too pleased. Let me explain:

There are 24 doors on an Advent calendar, one for every day from December 1st to December 24th. Every door on the Reese’s calendar is exactly the same size, with the exception of December 24th, which is HUGE. So every day last year, while Ken and Kate were oohing and ahhing over the adorable Lego, or the assorted Lindt chocolates (balls, bells, bars, teddy bears), I extracted a very small, very miniature peanut butter cup from my calendar. But the last window was so big that I consoled myself: ‘It’s going to be the BIG CUP. Maybe even the one stuffed with Reese’s Pieces!’ I mean, it had to be, right? There had to be a pay-off at the end that made the tiny cups, barely a morsel in the mouth, and all the waiting, worthwhile. Because part of the discipline of the Advent calendar is NOT ripping the whole thing open and eating all the chocolate at once—it’s having ONE each day no matter how bad your chocolate craving is. So every time I thought of skipping ahead, even by one day, I would remember the BIG CUP waiting, and I would go have a glass of wine instead. Then at long last, it was Christmas Eve, the day when I could finally reveal my Big Cup and gloat a bit while Ken and Kate were nibbling on their Lindt bunnies. I pulled back the giant cardboard window and guess what was in there?  Inset into a much smaller container within the giant window was a very small Reese’s ‘praline’ cup. A tiny  f*cking PRALINE CUP?! A month of waiting for that? I’ve been disappointed many times in my life, but this one made the top ten.

(Slight tangent: I was also very disappointed two days ago when Kate, Ken, and I finally finished the very complex 500 piece jigsaw puzzle we were working on as a family, only to discover, as I had indeed suspected, that Atlas had eaten several of the pieces, and Mexico City was looking very hole-y. Atlas defended himself by claiming that he was only trying to help, but undermined his own defence by whispering, “They were so delicious.”)

At any rate, I’ve made my Reese’s Peace with being deprived yet again of the Big Cup. And I’ve already bought the Lego Advent Calendars for next year and hidden them in the fireplace. And before you think I burned them in a fit of pique, let me explain that when we moved into our house, the previous owner privately called me over to the elaborate fireplace surround they had constructed, and pulled down what looked like a decorative panel to reveal a hidden compartment. I’ve used it ever since to hide presents, although it’s a bit too warm for chocolate. And then two days ago, Kate was assembling her most recent Lego Advent toy:

Kate: This Lego cake is adorable! I hope there’s one just like it in next year’s calendar!
Me: Who can say?
Kate: I’ll go look—it probably shows it on the box.
Me: What box?
Kate: The one in the fireplace.
Me: What are you talking about?
Kate: Your secret hiding spot. Behind the gold panel. Come on, Mom, I’ve known about that for years.

And now I’ve lost my secret hiding spot. Imagine my disappointment.

Find the secret compartment

56 thoughts on “Advent-ures

  1. 1. I’m not sure you’ve “lost” your secret hiding spot since it’s just as secret today as it was yesterday (or whenever Kate tipped her hat).
    2. That Reese’s debacle is complete bullshit. I would be outraged. Can’t you take it up with someone? And no, I don’t mean Jesus.
    3. Sean and I did a 1000 piece puzzle last weekend at the cottage and we were sure that dogs must be nibbling – probably looked like a doggie buffet. Thankfully, we had all 1000 pieces in the end – actually, scratch that, mark it down as miraculously.
    4. My 7 year old nephew also got a Lego advent calendar this year, but he discovered that if you ignore all the little windows WHICH ARE FOR CHUMPS you can open the box from the top, and then just slide out a tray filled with 24 instant, enjoy-them-now toys, which is really much better.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve suddenly developed a real interest in jigsaw puzzles–I’d never really done one before but I find them oddly soothing (except when there are pieces missing!) We started on another one yesterday but it’s safely up on the counter, away from doggy noses!


  2. I love the idea of Advent calendars, but I just can’t be disciplined around them–I can’t. All of those little doors would be opened immediately. I guess I should just get 24 Advent calendars and open each entire calendar up each day leading up to Christmas. That might be the solution for me. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What is up with the Reese’s praline crap?? Now, don’t get me wrong, I love pralines but I’m pretty sure the Reese’s and the “actual” pralines are totes different. Because they don’t sell Reese’s pralines here in the U.S. let alone in Texas since those would probably be sacrilegious I’m sure, lol.

    You should take it up with the company, all that buildup for a tiny little cup?! It’s an outrage, I tell you an outrage I say! 😡.
    I think Atlas told Kate where your secret hiding place is, children (even fur babies) will let those things slip every so often. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • When Kate was little, I taught her that no matter what it was, she should always say Thank you, it’s beautiful. It’s a bit of a family joke because when she does it to me, I know she doesn’t really like it lol!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, that’s the thing, family thing. My mom hates it too, and obviously she taught me well.
        A couple of years ago, we went to visit some friends in Bosnia, and my girlfriend got me a wallet, a beautiful wallet I said I didn’t really need because I already had one. You shouldn’t have spent money on me. and such. She got pissed, and her then-boyfriend tells me, Just take the damn thing, doesn’t matter you don’t need it, she wanted to buy you sth, and I’m thinking, Mom, what did you do to me???

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your story reminds me of Christmas when I was 12. The biggest present tucked under the tree that year had my name on it. I couldn’t believe it!! When I finally opened it (in front of my brother, dad, and stepdad) and discovered it was just two boxes of Kotex maxi-pads taped together (massive – it was the 80’s), my anticipation and excitement quickly morphed into sheer horror and embarrassment. I have never recovered. Wish it had been a mini peanut butter cup instead. Or even one skittle.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My grandson is a fan of the Lego advent calendars. That company is a marketing marvel. So sorry that your Reese’s Pieces advent calender was a bust. I think we need advent calendars designed for adults…
    And sorry about your hiding spot. Lol. Good luck finding another!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. When I was a kid we had some wooden Advent calendars we used year after year and now I think they should have been loaded with candy. For one thing it would have made opening each day more fun–and I would have been less inclined to go, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that thing” and have to open three or four at once because a few days had gone by. For another It would be possible to pick the candy that went in each day so the 24th could get something really big.
    Anyway I think it’s really cool that Atlas is channeling William Carlos Williams and I can hear him even now reciting a poem he wrote:
    This is just to say
    I’m sorry. I have eaten
    Some pieces
    From your jigsaw puzzle
    And which you probably
    Didn’t notice were missing.
    Forgive me. Mexico City is delicious,
    So sweet, and so spicy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Don’t you hate it when you lose your hiding spot? As for advent calendars I don’t tend to do them, I would prefer one without the chocolates and just a pretty artistic one 🙂


  8. I’m gutted for you with that final door!
    Every year I tell my Mum she’s terrible for not buying me an advent calendar (in jest, of course) but she claims that being 31, having moved out 7 years ago and being a parent myself means that’s not her responsibility anymore. She’s terrible, right?!
    This year I treated myself to a wine advent calendar and it’s possibly the best thing I ever bought myself!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Honestly — didn’t 2020 hand us all a wee praline cup?

    I love your secret hiding place! Reminds me of the enclosed compartment in Clark Griswold’s attic where he would stash gifts… and then promptly forget about them for years!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. suze hartline says:

    Just an FYI..George brought me home 12 advent calendars for me to open since my last one sucked……and while I found some had candy (not good candy but icky stuff like gummy worms) most were just teensy tiny bits of what I assumed would be a life-sized (well for candy) version. Next year I said he had to get me a Canadian advent calendar.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A fireplace with a secret compartment is utterly cool. It’s like something an eccentric millionaire would have.

    Ack, so disappointing to hear about the lack of pay-off re: the Advent calendar. But I like what that clever commenter said, about one praline = 1 glass of wine…

    Liked by 1 person

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