Growing up each year during the Christmas season my parents would get each of us an advent calendar. My mom would bring out a stack of colorful glittery paper cut outs depicting Santa hard at work in his workshop, austere manger scenes, or vibrant winter wonderlands and we would sort through to choose which one we wanted. My mother all the while crossing her fingers that a fight would not ensue because more than one of us wanted the same calendar. She got smarter over the years and got more calendars than children to avoid the problem.
The “countdown” to Christmas was thrilling as a kid and I would look forward each morning to getting up and seeing what was behind the next window on my calendar. We hung them up on the wall of our kitchen scotch taped to the mustard yellow faux wood paneling that was so popular in homes in the 1970’s. More often than not, our chubby little kid fingers were not quite able to pry open the perforated flaps and dad would have to come to the rescue with the steak knife to loosen the flap ever so slightly without actually opening it. The horror if he went too far and robbed us of the pleasure of actually being the one to reveal the picture!
And now as I begin to celebrate my 39th Christmas season I continue that tradition. My mother in law got us the wooden box calendar shown in the picture above. My mom had gotten us a fabric calendar years ago that came with small stuffed Christmas figurines. So we combined the two. We have the various stuffed toys in a bag and fetch one out each day. We make it a family event each evening and gather our dogs together as we wait to see what will come out of the bag next. For a while Priscilla would attempt to eat them thinking we were giving her a cookie but she has since smartened to our trickery.
And so I await this evening when we return from work to open the next door. Will we get a drum? An angel? A candy cane? I may be 39 but I still get that excitement I got as a kid the moment before I see what will be next.