I bought the kids Advent Calendars for the first time. Little cardboard boxes with perforated windows, they’re filled with tiny chocolates.

I bought them a few days before Thanksgiving when I was doing some grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. I set them on a shelf in the pantry and would have promptly forgotten about them if it weren’t for the eagle eyes of my two children.


The day after Thanksgiving – the date that I’d officially given as the first day we can start talking about Christmas – Joseph opened the pantry door and stood staring up at the calendars. “Is it time yet?”


“Nope. We don’t start until December 1st.”


“But you said Christmas was after Thanksgiving.”


“I know, but Advent Calendars start on December 1st.”


“When is that?”


“Next week.”


Every day, from that point on, the kids asked to start their Advent calendars. And every day, I had to explain that it was me who was saying no. It was the calendar.


What? Don’t you play pass-the-buck-to-an-inanimate-object?


Finally, December 1st arrived. We pulled out the calendars. The kids carefully punched the first window open, revealing a little square of chocolate stamped with a toy train. They popped it in their mouths, smiles wreathing their faces. I picked up the calendars and went to hang them on the wall where they could be seen all month.




I looked at Elizabeth. Her smile had turned into a scowl and she was staring at me as if I’d stolen her candy. “Sorry, baby. One a day.”


“I want more NOW!”


“No. That’s not how this works.”


“My candy!”


I eyed her determined face, her greedy eyes and realized in a crystal clear moment of insight…


I’d better put those calendars up high. Really, really high.