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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent Calendar: An Exercise in Patience

Indy loves Advent Calendars. Loves them. Looks forward to them with the same kind of anticipation usually reserved for birthday parties, or Christmas itself. If you're not familiar with Advent Calendars (and many Americans aren't as they are more a European tradition), they are usually large, slim boxes filled with little pieces of candy hidden behind numbered doors to be opened each day of December, leading up to Christmas. This is the highlight of Indy's day. He takes such joy in the small bit of candy and the fact that it's another day closer to Christmas.
This year, as we perused the seemingly endless varieties of Advent Calendars, Indy couldn't make up his mind which one to choose. He debated about this for days and days. The one with Santa on it or the one with the snowmen? It was a big decision and he talked (and talked and talked) about it for days. There was seriously a point where I was ready to scream if anyone so much as said the word calendar. He'd finally decided to go with Santa (always a good choice) when we went to a local mall and he saw the ultimate Advent Calendar: Playmobil. It was love at first sight. There were 4 different types: Fairies (way too girlie), Equestrian (cool,, Police (awesome) and knights. It was like the heavens had opened and angels started singing. I almost had to wipe drool from his face. Who needed candy when there was Playmobil?
I knew he wanted it so badly, but it was a bit pricey ($20 more than the candy calendars), and I told him that we wouldn't be getting it. He was sad and quiet the rest of the day. The kid talks non-stop and the quiet was rather unsettling. Dh and I talked about it, but decided to stick to our guns and go with the standard candy calendar. Santa would be bringing toys and he would survive. By the next morning Indy was back to his usualy yackity-yack-yack self and told me he had a plan. He decided that he would use his own money (which he hordes with Scrooge like intensity) to make up the difference between what I was willing to pay for the candy calendar and the Playmobil calendar. I was momentarily shocked (mostly because he was going to spend money) and then impressed that he'd come up with the plan. A complex plan what with the paying the difference and all. I agreed and the day before Thanksgiving we went and picked it up. He clutched the HUGE box to his chest and insisted on carrying it all the way to the car. The box shows everything he's going to get, and he wants it sooooooo badly, but getting once piece at a time is killing him. He hasn't asked to open any early, but every day he chomps at the bit to eat lunch so he can open the calendar.

It came with a little background play set. The first day he got one of the knights.

This shows what he gets each day. He can't wait until he gets to open the dragon (Dec. 20).

Anyone else do advent calendars?


Frau said...

How cute and creative of him, he really wanted that. We have a Santa stocking on for each day, never did this before moving to Germany so everyday the advent fairy comes and leaves treasures. My teen insisted we do this last year when we moved here, he advent ideas were all pretty pricey has a spoiled teen she is. Today gift was candy cane, tomorrow a Starbucks gift card. I'm a sucker!

Emily said...

That is a pretty neat advent calendar. We do one that's a little different. Every day we put a piece on and on day 25 it completes a nativity scene. On certain days, I have special things in the pocket, either treats or a little note saying we'll be doing something fun that day. It's a great way to help kids understand about waiting for Christmas, I think.

C N Heidelberg said...

I sent my dad an advent calendar this year. Instead of opening one box per day through Advent, he took the thing to the family Thanksgiving party and served it!!

The Mommyologist said...

That one is too cool! Our is in the shape of a Christmas son would've LOVED the Playmobil one!

sbux said...

I remember, when I was a kid, how excited I was about the advent calendar.
When we were little we had the simple one with the small piece of chocolate.One year my Mom came across a calendar which you could fill yourself and we then had those.

To all the Americans in the US: You can buy advent calendars there, you just need to know what to look for. :)
When I was over there as an AuPair I got some for my host kids (for the cultural aspect of me being there) and they LOVED it! :)

satakieli said...

Totally wanted to get Mikey an advent calendar but the hubby thinks he is too little for it.

Secretly I'd rather like one for myself.

That Playmobil one is awesome! Mine just used to have pictures in of the christmas story when I was a kid, no candy or toys!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

We do! I couldn't find one with chocolate in time, so we have a plain one. The girls think it's great, but they don't know what they're missing. If we had a chocolate one, I'd probably "forget" to have them open it and then do it myself each day after they go to bed. ;)

Kaley @ Cha-Ching on a Shoestring said...

My four year old son has been sitting at the computer trying to figure out how to play with that castle. We have an advent calendar, but it's definitely not as cool as that. =)

Thanks for leaving your comment about your traditions in Germany. I used to teach in an international school, so I have a soft spot in my heart for all things international. I love what you shared...sounds like you make the most of the season!

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Jenny said...

I vaguely remember having them when I was little. But I don't think there were treats. They were just paper (and flat) with the little doors. Maybe a saying behind them or something? I feel robbed! lol.

How wonderful and grown up of him to negotiate with you, and how exciting for him to get a toy a day and in the end the whole set to play with.

Randa said...

I grew up in Mississippi and we always had advent calendars...we had a regular one that was flat with just a picture behind it and a second one with the little chocolate treats inside. I LOVED opening the little doors! My great-grandmother was a German immigrant and we are Episcopalian so we did advent in a BIG way! It always makes the Christmas season last so much longer!

Pigler said...

I'm british and always had an advent calendar as a child. When my son was young I sewed a calendar with numbered pockets which I fill with chocolate coins, a traditional british christmas treat. He's 11 now but still gets excited when December 1st rolls around and we can hang up the advent calendar.

Laura said...

oh yes, we do advent calendars, although because everyone in my family loooooves chocolate, we all have chocolate ones. (hubby and I share one, alternating days). Baby brother (18 months) was trying to chew open the box today because he wanted to open another window!

KristinaF said...

Our family does them yearly too. We started while we lived in Germany with a Playmobile one. I have several cloth ones, but the girls like the toy ones better. Last year they did a Lego one (found at Borders in the states). This year it's My Little Pony's & Littlest Pet Shop.

Hollywood Farm Films said...

OY!!! I totally blew it on the advent calender this year!!
It's so hard to find things that I used to not be able to live without in this one horse town!! Is there a web site I can go to? Ohh I'm too late aren't I? SHoot! I lve the dragon one. My kids would flip for that!!

Sarah said...

My mom made an advent calendar that we used every year. Each day we got to reach into the day's pouch and pull out a cloth ornament to hang on a 2-D Christmas tree on the top half of the calendar. Make sense? Probably not. Anyway, my younged brother and I loved it and looked forward to hanging a new ornament every day before school.

This is the first year I have had a candy advent calendar. It's taking some getting used to, and I think making a cloth one will be on my craft list for this next year.

PS That's awesome that Indy came up with that plan.

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
carolyn said...

We have an advent calendar now...a felt pocket Santa one that offers a piece of candy each day.

When I was little, we had a giant Christmas tree and each day you'd put another ornament on it- ending with the star on top.

Lego has a neat one too- but the knights?? Awesome!

Glad Indy's having a ball.

Merry, Merry!

Anonymous said...

Heihei! My mom used to get us an advent calendar every year. She either bought one or made one herself. Now I'm 24 and I still do advent calendars for my family and my boyfriend... I think it's a wonderful tradition...
Take care.

Anonymous said...

We're doing Advent calendars for the first time this year. The problem is I keep forgetting about them! We didn't even *start* our countdown until the 8th and average opening a new window once every three nights (so we end up opening multiple windows at a time). Luckily, the kids don't like the candy in the ones I bought (note to self: don't by Kinder advent calendars anymore...the kids love the Kinder Eggs, but not the rest of their chocolate).

Anonymous said...

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