Fantasy Football: The Advent Calendar Goes Deep
December 1st is a big day around here. It’s the first day of Advent, and it’s the first day of the Advent calendar with its 24 days of teensy tiny gifts. I got the calendar last year, against my will. It practically jumped into my cart! Click here if you want to see it, in all it’s evil, magical glory.
It has turned out to be the best impulse buy, ever. The whole family loves it.
It is a challenge to fill all those itty, bitty, teeny, tiny little slots. All 24 of them. I’ve got elves on the situation, all over town. If they happen to see a goody smaller than a pack of dental floss, they are to pick it up immediately. There are still nine days of Advent, but I’ve only got five treats left, so if you come across any, you are likewise required to snatch it up and forward it this way. Kay? Hey, it takes a Santa’s Village to get through Christmas, people.
Most of the things we find look like this:
According to the guy at Party City, these things are all the rage with the under five set. They stick to the wall and walk down. Plus, my little guy is really into frogs. (Please also note this is the only thing even vaguely frog-related you will find at Party City, or pretty much anywhere else.)
Or this. It looks way more awesome than it is because of my stellar photography skills (i.e., luck):
It really looks more like this.
The real challenge is finding things that aren’t so cheap and pointless that they’re destroyed or discarded by the end of the day. I realize the thrill is finding something new each day, but it is my mission to make them quality things, not just more crapola.
I have figured out a work-around for this itty bitty slot issue. This year, we started putting clues inside the compartment. A crude sketch of the dining room table directs the recipient to look underneath it. A single puzzle piece indicates an entire Christmas puzzle may be found, if a search is conducted. Hey, I suppose you could use one whole puzzle for the entire Advent, if you wanted to. The kids could fit together a couple new pieces each day. You could even get a custom made puzzle with a meaningful picture that they try to predict. Lots of ideas there!
Most of the prizes do fit into the slots. It’s a lot of fun, and I love to pick the teensy prizes out, and fill the calendar each night. Well, when I remember. Often, I hear the dining room chair being dragged across the floor toward the shelf where the calendar sits, and I know it’s time to jump out of bed, distract the children by whatever means necessary, and stuff that day’s slot.
This morning was one such morning. Cute Banker was dead to the world in our preschooler’s bed (you know you did it, too), and I was dead to the world in my own, with my toddler. At least, I thought my toddler was there. Suddenly, I heard the dining room chair screeching across the tile. Oh no! The Advent Calendar’s empty!!
Cute Banker and I met in the hall and had a quick huddle. Our solution was questionable parenting but really, super duper fun. Primarily, we did it because we wanted to. There was really no “good” reason behind it, we just wanted to.
Here’s what we did: we told the boys we heard some shuffling in the garage. Maybe the Advent gift was too big to fit in the calendar, and it got put out there?? (There is a gray area here – the boys know we are the ones who fill the calendar, but we pretend it gets magically filled. Whatever. Ho ho ho.) Cute Banker went out to the garage and came in with a big box!
It just happened to be one of their Christmas gifts. We were so excited to give it to them that this kind of worked out perfectly. Our little guy (aged two) is too small to really ask for anything for Christmas, but the one thing he has said he really wants is “a Charger helmet, a Charger jersey, and baseball pants.” (As I said, he is two. He calls football pants “baseball pants” and we know what he means. It’s like talking to my dear Grandma, who occasionally requires an interpreter, as well. For instance, Bed, Bath, and Beyond is “Bed and Breakfast,” and Rite Aid is “Diet Rite.” As in, “I’m going to pop over to Bed and Breakfast, and stop by Diet Rite on the way home. You want anything?”
Another charming, if chancy, habit of hers I have to mention here is mixing up names. Particularly boys names. Particularly my boyfriends’ boy’s names. Cute Banker may not be his real name, but neither is Rufus, which is what he is occasionally called. Rufus was my grandma’s cat. 30 years ago. (Okay, so I think I see where my son gets this trait). As no previous boy was ever given the moniker of her beloved pet (they were relegated to random cousins’ names), I prefer to see it as her way of bestowing a very special honor on the one and only Cute Banker/Rufus.
Anyway, my son asked for baseball pants, i.e., football pants, and the rest of it. Well. Did you know that with only one or two games left in the season, those things are really, REALLY discounted? Seriously. Go to Amazon.com. You will be amazed. So, we got him a uniform, and one for his big brother.
Today was the day they got to open them. It was a really good day for Advent gifts. And for being a kid in our household. And for us. It was a precious, funny, memorable time. Our little guy pulled out the helmet and exclaimed, “It’s a Charger helmet!” He pulled out the pants and declared, “It’s baseball pants!” He pulled out a shoulder pad and said, “It’s this thing!”
They proceeded to venture into the 33 degree weather (not kidding), football uniforms layered over jammies, and play football with Dad.
I am fundamentally, essentially, and totally against my small children playing organized football. I have personally witnessed Cute Banker experience his third concussion, the serious symptoms of which lasted years. There is no way on earth I will let my growing kids bang their precious heads intentionally against other precious heads on a football field. Merry Christmas, have a head injury!
I do think they should explore their interests and dressing up in the clothes to watch games is a safe, healthy way to do it. However, as they get older, I have a list of approved, low-impact sports: Tennis. Water Polo. Archery. And, my personal fave: Golf.
This Advent season, I think we scored a touchdown. And, it sure was fun.
All the Right Moves
Nobody ever looked cuter in baseball pants.
Calling an Audible
The End Zone
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