Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Calendar

In college I lived in a house for two years with seven roommates. All eight of us shared an 8 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2 kitchen house called The Misty Mint (it was mint green). The first year I lived on the top story of the house and shared the upstairs bathroom with Heidi and Maggie. Maggie and I had been roommates in the dorms the year prior so we were well acquainted with one another's vices. Heidi and I were childhood besties and she had just moved up from California to live with us. We were all 3 fast friends. When Christmas rolled around, Heidi enthusiastically purchased an advent calendar and posted it in our communal hallway on the top floor, right outside my bedroom door. It was a cheap paper advent calendar from the grocery store, the kind with little paper "doors" that you tear open for your daily treat. I'm sure Heidi's mother, who is a domestic wizard had elaborate and fun advent calendars growing up, and this was our 19 year old recreation on a student budget. Inside each little window was a small, mediocre chocolate. A week or so into December, I had mostly forgotten about the advent calendar when Heidi went to pop open her daily countdown window and made a surprised sound. Maggie and I were each in our respective rooms, pretending to study.
Heidi: "Did someone open my advent window already?!"
Me: "No."
Maggie: silence

More silence, punctuated only by the noise of Heidi flipping open advent calendar window after advent calendar window.

Heidi: "Maggie?"
Maggie: silence
Me: coming out of my room to get the scoop
Maggie: indiscernible noise admitting guilt
Heidi: "Maaaaagie!"

Comes to pass that one desperate night, Maggie needed a treat and one cheap Bartell's chocolate was not enough. She had discreetly opened each one of the windows from then until Christmas and eaten all the tiny, mediocre chocolates.... and then re-closed each of the windows to make them appear untouched.

I still think of that as one of the funnier moments in that house. Tied maybe with the morning of our Christmas gift exchange, in which we had drawn names for gift purchasing. We had planned to open presents in the morning, but as is appropriate for people of college age, "morning" for most of us was closer to noon than 7am. But Faye and Amanda (two of the basement dwellers) had different ideas. They bum rushed each of our bedrooms at some ungodly hour wearing weird santa hats and full holiday gear. They had stayed up all night filling the main floor of the house with more ugly Christmas decor than I knew existed. Including a working train that ran on tracks looping through the entire living room. It was literally like 100 elves had been set loose in our house and barfed all over it. I think there were some roommates who were still pissed about having been woken up before 11am by deranged Santas jumping on their heads, but I remember being hilariously pumped. I mean, who does that?!

Maggie drew my name that year for presents and she wrapped my present (a lovely wallet I'd been coveting at The Gap (it was the 90's!) in a box of Blueberry Morning cereal with a toilet paper bow. I thought that was even funnier than the miniature train running through our house.

Oh college.

While we're still - kind of - on the topic of Advent Calendars, I would proudly like to announce that I MADE AN ADVENT CALENDAR FOR EDIE. As in, with my own two hands.
Full discloser: I made Heidi come over and help me with the sewing part, paying her in black licorice and white wine. But I *did* end up using such things as:
A seam ripper
A real life sewing machine. MY sewing machine in fact. Supervised and Unsupervised.
A dowel
embroidery thread
An oversized needle
And lots and lots of a crazy strong glue called E-6000

Anyways, it's super cute. A little home-madey but still very cute. I visited Archie McPhees and with a little supplementing from Target's dollar bin, filled her little pouches with assorted treats and candies last night.

She got her "First Day of Christmas" gift today: a funny plastic monkey finger puppet. She named him "Kasky" (don't ask, I have no idea) and fed him her peanut butter toast.

Tomorrow she gets some tiny princess magnets. I'm so excited for Christmas this year!


cranky rae said...

God, I'm such a shithead! And a shameless pig. This made me snort out loud at work -- totally forgot that story. Thanks for reminding me about my all-time favorite cereal. Every day's a good day when you make it a Blueberry Morning.

P.S. Your advent calendar is some seriously inspired craftiness. SO cute. So impressed.

Kristin said...

Growing up we had an advent calendar that my mom made--each day was a tiny little ornament that we would tie onto a quilted Christmas tree. As an added bonus, she would wrap each one in tissue paper, so it was like getting to open a tiny present. This was a great idea, I bet it will become one of Edie's favorite memories too. Also, this post made me miss college.

sandralbruton said...

I don't what was funnier, the Kaskey name or the Maggie silence! hahahaha!

Amanda Buchan said...

Such a great idea to make an advent calendar with fun toys!! I'm totally stealing that some day when I have babies. Or maybe I'll make one for Ryan and fill it with study aides. Love the memories from the mint too!

But really....did you use patterns for those things? That's a crafty calendar.

Betsey said...

Dang, Jill! I am super impressed! This is awesome! So creative! This will be such a treasure for Edie as she grows. A big gold Christmas star for you for the awesomeness! I thought of mine after it was too late to get started, but I was thrilled to see that Kristin has fond memories of the kind I've been thinking of making for Emmi to start next year.

Mary Anne said...

Love the advent calendar AND the story from college. Good work!!

lindsey said...

Oh my gosh - that calendar is so awesome! You did a really incredible job!! I am so impressed. And I want one.