Advent calendars

XMAS, Christmas, Presents


Daughter three has been industriously putting together a special advent calendar for her mother. It is rather beautiful. It involves 24 origami-folded envelopes with clues inside. Each one has a wooden number superglued to it and has been pegged in a row on the wall in the living room. It is truly a work of art and in no way compares to the chocolate-based calendar I got her.

She has made lists of presents for each day which she has either hand made or bought from Poundland. I am getting quite excited about Friday, but at the same time feeling slightly inadequate. Daughter three loves Christmas with a passion. She started watching Christmas films around September. Her enthusiasm is contagious and only son has also got in on the act. He wanted to create an advent calendar for his mum too, but was told that that would be a bit like overkill. “What about dad?” came a plaintive voice from the other side of the room. Only son had not considered dad.

I volunteered that I could go shopping with him so it would be some mum and only son time. Only son decided that, even though this was not the optimum outcome, it could be fun. So we headed to Poundland. I said we were on a budget and that did not mean buying 24 individual presents. I steered him in the direction of packets of multiple things, eg, crackers. One cracker for one day. Only son was happy with that and bought a few small things. He could make other presents or find things around the house to wrap up. As long as he could wrap everything up and put it in a Santa sack he was satisfied.

Meanwhile, I was on the lookout for things to go in daughter two’s calendar which is a non-edible one with drawers in it, given that it has been hard to find vegan ones [though getting easier by the year…]. Last year she got a lot of hairbands. One hairband for almost every day of advent. You never know when you might need a hairband.
This year there is a slightly different theme. Let’s call it office essentials. Given that all manner of tools and office essentials – as well as bits of furniture – usually find their way to daughter two’s bedroom/workshop, I thought it might be handy for her to have her own. It will not stop her from snaffling all the hammers and screwdrivers, the paint or the things for putting up pictures on the wall, but it will be a start.
I lost a pot of paint the other day which I was using to paint only son and daughter three’s room. I somehow knew where it might have ended up. Daughter two had mixed it with acrylic paint to give her walls a greenish tint. There was a trail of paint prints into the bathroom. Daughter two will be hand making all her gifts this year, as in every past year. I expect other parts of the house to disappear in the next few weeks.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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