I don't think we ever did a real advent calendar in my house when I was young. If we did anything at all like that, it was just a countdown to Christmas thing, and had nothing to do with the reason for the season.
Of course, your reason for the season may vary. For most kids, it's about the presents. So getting up each morning and running with excitement to the advent calendar on the wall and prying open the tiny little cardboard peephole just to reveal a bible verse or an admonishing to be good or you'll make the baby Jesus cry would be a bit disappointing. At least to a kid who is practically wetting his pants waiting for Santa to bring him toys.
I was thinking of making a personalized countdown calendar, in the tradition of the advent, for my husband. I'd take a photo of myself each day, wearing one less piece of clothing each time. Finally, on Christmas morning he would open up the last box to reveal instructions to come find me in the bedroom. When he got there, I'd be standing in the room, holding a bunch of tools and a list of home repairs that I'd been patiently waiting for him to complete. I'm sure you all get the point. And I'm sure he would get it, too, after he grabbed the hammer out of my hand and beat me over the head with it.
I also toyed with the idea of making a calendar for my kids. Each day would reveal a message like this one: You still haven't taken that moldy glass of orange juice out of your room yet. Say good-bye to another present.
Instead, I concentrated my efforts on making personal Christmas Countdown calendar, in the tradition of the advent. Below, my very own The 24 Days of Xanax Countdown Calendar.
. Today is the day! Make that list of loved ones you need to buy presents for.
. How many of those people do you really
like enough to spend money on? Whittle that list!
Big day! your mom will call and guilt you into spending the holiday with her
instead of your husband’s family. She has volunteered you to host the holiday.
Drag out last year’s decorations from the attic. Examine the teeth marks in
baby Jesus and call an exterminator.
Cross Aunt Betty off your shopping list. Who knew exterminators were so expensive?
Get wish list from kids. Explain to them that Santa’s elves don’t make digital cameras or iPods.
Accept the fact that your kids stopped believing in Santa years ago and they know you are to blame for all the crappy presents.
. Give kids a three hour lecture about economics. Tell them to choose between food and shelter or an iPod.
Receive heartfelt, manipulative note from kids about how much they love you and cherish you, complete with photo of the smiling like cherubic little angels. The letter is served with a mug of hot tea and some Godiva chocolate. They sing Christmas carols for you as you sip your tea.
. Go to Best Buy and purchase two iPods. Stock up on mac and cheese.
. Cross two more aunts and a friend off your list. Man, those iPods cost a lot of money.
Go to the mall. Get in a fight with a rude salesperson. Kick a small child who has wiped their snotty nose on your pant leg. Walk around for three hours in the cold because you can't remember where you parked your car.
Take the family out to buy a tree. Listen to your kids fight over who gets the final say. Listen to the other families fighting and wonder if that's what yours really sounds like. Lock kids in car and pick out the damn tree yourself.
Discover that the box of Christmas ornaments was stored under a box of books. Run to the dollar store and purchase cheesy, faded ornaments. While you are there, pick up some lights that were made in some third world country that doesn't believe in electric codes. Plug in lights. Blow ten fuses.
. Consider selling a kidney so you can finish off the rest of your Christmas shopping. Your husband suggests that standing on a corner in a green bikini and red fishnet stockings while holding out a cup might work better. Give husband a nice black eye.
Make attempt at baking for the holidays. After six hours of intensive labor that has left your kitchen in shambles, drive to Krispy Kreme and purchase two dozen of their festive donuts. Eat them all yourself.
Explain to children that they will not get anything for Christmas if they continue to behave like wild animals. Watch as they roll their eyes at you because you have never, in all their lives, followed through on that threat.
Return iPods. Buy two used Walkmen at a garage sale for 50 cents each. Include cassette that plays I'm Getting Nothin' For Christmas
Panic. Even though your kids are rotten to the core and even though you have sworn not to buy presents for the seven generations of cousins, aunts and uncles this year, you find yourself at the mall again, frantically trying to finish off your list.
. The first credit card bills come in. The Christmas tree caught fire. Your mother informs you that seven more people will be joining you for Christmas dinner. Your son has invited all of his musician friends over for a rock and roll Christmas jam. Renew Xanax prescription.
Do a reverse Christmas shopping. Go to Target and start buying whatever is on sale. You'll figure out later who to give the items to. You're sure Uncle Fred will adore the all animal cast, stop motion animation version of It's A Wonderful Life
, even though he's deaf and blind and consumed with hatred.
. Stand on the street corner wearing nothing but a green bikini and red fish net stockings. Your husband uses his Christmas bonus to bail you out of jail. You swear to fight the sexual solicitation charges.
Make a last dash to the mall. Return all the presents you bought for your twenty seven distant relatives that you only see once a year. Go to Best Buy and purchase two iPods because it will be a cold day in hell before you let your kids be disappointed on Christmas, paving the way for them to blame you for every single failure for the rest of their therapy-filled lives. Your daughter will write a book from jail titled "The Christmas That Ruined My Life" and your son will hit the Billboard charts with an angst-filled punk rock song which contains the refrain "all I wanted was an iPod, just one iPod and she wouldn't give it me!"
Christmas morning. Your kids find you curled up in a ball under the Christmas tree, humming South Park Christmas songs and stinking like cheap rum. You're still wearing the bikini. "Merrrrrry fucking Chrishtmash, everyone!"
Disclaimer: Don't take all of this literally. While I may have kicked a small child and set my tree on fire in the past, my kids aren't getting iPods, I don't hate my family and you would never catch me in red fish net stockings. How gauche.