I knew that it was Thursday, December 1st this morning. I remembered that meant Ed would be gone for his weekly radio panel before we woke up and I’d have to manage the morning hustle on my own. I even remembered that one kid has a field trip today and that tomorrow is a PA Day, so I should plan to pack as much into this school day as possible. And even though one daughter came down in bare legs — in Canada — in December — and I had to dash upstairs to grab leggings and then braid her hair while she was eating her cereal, we still managed to catch the bus.
I returned home a rock star. Put on the coffee and serve it hot because mama is going to own this day.
Then I logged onto Facebook and was bombarded by pictures of elves hanging out on kitchen counters or in Christmas trees and of gap-toothed kids grinning with pure joy as they opened the first door of their advent calendars.
Are we all supposed to be celebrating advent, like, every year now? Because the only acknowledgement we’ve had of Christmas’ approach in this house is when I yelled at my kids to stop opening up the decorations because we weren’t ready to get them out yet. And to be honest, I have to yell at them to leave the xmas ornaments alone all year round.
Like, it’s FINE. I get why the Elf on the Shelf thing is fun for people. We don’t do it mainly because I hadn’t ever heard of it before a few years ago and I didn’t see the need for starting a new tradition. So it’s basically laziness. And I guess I’ve gotten a cheapo advent calendar some years. Sure, I dig countdowns. But I didn’t realize celebrating advent was a thing that so many people do.
I guess I always thought of advent as mostly a church holiday. Like, the priest wears purple robes or something (I’m not even going to google this to see if I’m right) and there’s an advent wreath with four candles and each Sunday a new one gets lit. It’s a time of joyous anticipation of the birth of baby Jesus. If I should ever find myself attending mass in December (hey, it can happen!), then I’m all, “Oh, yeah, Advent. I remember that.”
I know that advent calendars are nothing new. My mom would also pick up a cheap one every once in a while (but not every year!) during my childhood. I simply didn’t realize just how secularized and widespread this season of waiting … for Santa, I guess … had become.
For the record, I have zero problem with religious holiday traditions becoming secularized and embraced widely by whoever want to participate. That’s great. But when did this happen? Has it always been this way? Did you all grow up with advent calendars and elves? Where have I been living?
I almost feel like I should run out and pick up an advent calendar for my three kids to fight over because I am certainly not buying three of them. Or maybe I’ll just grab a bag of Hershey’s Kisses or something and hand them out as I cross days off the regular, old kitchen calendar. That works too, right?