It all began when my son was younger than he is now. I would provide a more specific age but I seem to age two years for my children’s every one, which means that I am forgetful.  Anyway, he was little and we bought a Lego Advent Calendar because we thought it would be fun to watch him countdown to Christmas.

He loved it–but who wouldn’t love opening a tiny gift every day for 24 days?

We did the Lego calendar for a couple years and then switched to Playmobil and then my daughter was born so we started stuffing extras into the Playmobil calendar so each kid would get something and then we realized that the kids were outgrowing Playmobil so we started buying 24 little treats and goyabas (a Brazilian word that means “little useless things”) and the whole thing became this big pain in the adventass!

Then, a couple of years ago, we decided to scale back on the calendar. We started doing a mix of candies and family activities. One day, the kids might get a candy cane and the next they might get a coupon for a special family movie night. The kids liked the activities and we were no longer drowning in goyabas.

This year, we weren’t feeling crafty and didn’t want to wrap all the candies and coupons so I bought blue envelopes and made a set for each kid and put coupons inside. The activity coupons speak for themselves but I also made cards that have riddles and trivia questions to be answered as well as tasks to be completed in order for them to earn their prize.

That’s right–this year, I finally got the performing monkeys I wished for when I had these children in the first place!

Dance monkeys, dance!

So far, they’ve had to answer window-related riddles to get decorative window clings (What kind of room has no windows or doors? Why did the window go to the doctor?) and had to perform their favorite Christmas carols in order to get a chocolate bear. Of course, the downside to this is that I had to listen to a hip-hop version of Jingle Bells sung while accompanied by leather chair percussion.

I wasn’t sure how the kids would feel about this change in our “calendar” but the reviews have been good.

“I love our advent calendar this year! So fun!” – Zeca, age 7

“The advent calendar is so much more fun this year because we actually get to do something!” – Miguel, age 11

My hope is that next year, I’ll be able to simply text them, “Day 1: bring me some coffee” and reward them with a Hershey kiss.

Advent victory will be mine!

Photo Credit

About Vikki

Vikki is a bored social worker by day and a mom/writer/pop culture junkie by night. She writes about GLBT issues and parenting at her personal blog Up Popped A Fox and her writing has also appeared at Grace the Spot and Autostraddle. She also has an inexplicable fascination with marshmallow Peeps. Don't ask.


  1. Sharon says:

    OMG, it never occurred to me that I could get manual labour out of this advent business. You are brilliant.

  2. Alexandra says:

    This is a wonderful idea and also will be our 2013 calendar.

    But I’ll still get the chocolate countdown one for me. Along with a #2 back up one.

    Happy Holidays, wonderful Vikki and family: I’m so happy to have met you this year.

    Can you believe there was a time I didn’t know you??

    Twitter Name:


  1. [...] even singing a Christmas carol or two. Baking with my children would be memorable and part of the rich holiday history that they would someday recreate with their children. This would be my parenting [...]

Speak Your Mind