One of the cherished Christmas traditions in our house every year is the advent calendar. The advent calendar is shaped like a big house and it has 24 doors in it, each of which can hold a fun little present inside, and so the idea is that, starting on December 1st, you open one door every day until Christmas. My wife and I picked it up at Costco many years ago, pre-children, because we thought it looked awesome.
The first year we had it, my wife and I bought each other little gifts and we alternated days so that every other day we had something fun to open, and it was a huge success. So much so, that it was a little sad when we had children and realized that we would probably have to give them the gifts instead. And actually, after we had Ruby we kept giving each other gifts for a year or two anyway, because she was too little (we told ourselves).
Eventually we gave in and started putting little presents in the calendar for Ruby every year, and she loves it. I mean, what’s not to love? You get a present every day! The hardest part for us parents is finding things small enough to fit into the teeny little doors. Some compartments are bigger than others, but none of them are huge. Socks are a good present because you can roll them up, and candy is always good too, but I suppose that trying to stuff the things in there is half of the fun!
This year is Edward’s first year participating in the calendar, which means we had to try and get two presents into each compartment. I hope you like individually wrapped M&M’s kids! Somehow we managed to do it, but the other problem that I had not anticipated was that Edward is an avatar of destruction.
Ruby is like me. She loves surprises. I don’t think it would ever occur to her to try and open doors ahead of time. Even when she was very little, opening one door a day to mark the time till Christmas was all part of the fun and excitement of the season. Edward likes all of his fun and excitement at once. He is determined to open all of the doors and pull everything out of that calendar if it is the last thing he does. In fact, he has done it. More than once. There have been multiple instances of Ruby running to find me, yelling “Dad! Edward is opening the wrong doors of the advent calendar! I’m not looking! You go close them, and I will stay in here so I don’t see anything!” A girl after my own heart. I also hate having my surprises ruined.
Edward does not care about surprises. He is not into delayed gratification. Yesterday afternoon he tried to eat the gingerbread house. I explained to him that we had just made the dang thing, and we would like it to last a little bit longer, but he just let out his primal yell and surged forward again, determined to smash and destroy.
So now the advent calendar has to go up on the kitchen counter, out of reach of children, and not looking quite as festive as it did over by the fireplace. I will be interested to see how Edward reacts to the calendar next year. Is this just a stage that he is at now, or does his personality truly lend itself to sneaking peeks at future surprises? I guess that’s part of the fun of parenting, and I’m happy to wait and see, because just like the advent calendar, the journey is the good part.