Friday, December 16, 2011

Off Topic: The Advent Calendar

With Ice Show behind us, I can finally concentrate my domestic efforts on a Family Holiday. We typically don't travel, as Dad's show schedule keeps us home, so we just settle in and enjoy the day. I've been slowly moving away from a Consumer Oriented holiday, focusing less and less on gifts, and more on creating new Traditions and Family. We're not exactly Christian, either, so I'm going to try my hand at some other Holiday things like Latkes and Dreidels.

We also switched up the Christmas Tree in favor of a Christmas Ladder, painted green and decorated. Stitch and the Cats love it. With less stress on Gift Giving and Budget Straining, a break in the Gotta Do Tradition monotony, more focus on tasty treats, friends and family, I'm more in the holiday spirit than I've been in years.

My well-meaning Aunt had sent me a Playmobil Advent Calendar last year, and last night I got it into my head that this would be a great new tradition to start. Yes, an Advent Calendar. Never mind that we're halfway through the month, let's do this.

Stitch was in bed, I had a hot toddy in hand, holiday music was softly playing, and I bust out this Advent Calendar.

Ours is not the cutesy animal one, but you get the idea.

The premise is simple: For every day there is a small box with some pieces of the final "scene" to be assembled. A hat, the snowman, a park bench, a person, you get the idea. The set comes with 24 tiny numbered boxes that you have to assemble, and fill with the proscribed toys as per the instructions which are in German. There are also two unnumbered boxes and three boxes printed to look like wrapped gifts.

There are four large bags of toy pieces in various states of assembly. Medium size pieces like people and furniture are ready to go, small and large bits like hats and sleighs you have to put together.

There is one big cardboard display board, to which you will presumably affix the loaded toy boxes to. There is no sequence to the numbers, they are scattered haphazardly across the board. The final toy "scene" is a town square with three kids playing hockey in the middle. Hockey, go Figure right? (Get it, go Figure? Hahahahaha!) Santa is presumably involved.

I sit by the light of my Christmas Ladder, and spread out the cardboard scene, little boxes, small toys and instructions. I set to identifying which tiny bits go in which tiny box.

The first few days are pretty simple. Week one, we were supposed to get the big things like the Snowman, the Park Bench, and the Hockey Net. We also got a little girl, but I couldn't find her right off so some other kid went in her box. Whatever.

Week two, things got a little more complicated. We got two more kids early in week, some fences, a patch of ice and a warning sign. Then one kid got his hockey stick, little tiny hockey guard things, and some tiny hockey pucks. I know full well I will be scooping tiny hockey pucks out of the catbox come New Year. The second kid doesn't get his hockey stick or guards or pucks until three days later, so he better steer clear of that other kid in the meantime. Our little girl doesn't get her tiny scarf or hat until two weeks after her arrival onto the scene, so let's hope that snowman she's building is actually made of polarfleece.

Week three, things got bizarre. In one box went a Star of David on a stick. For a few moments I was concerned that this yellow Star of David was supposed to go on someone's sleeve, but then I found the corresponding stick. This is a lantern of some kind. The sleigh arrives in week three, which must be assembled with stickers, runners and harness. But it doesn't fit in the box with the harness on, so I had to take it apart right after I figured how to get it together.

At this point I decide to start putting the little loaded boxes on the cardboard display, but after having them fall off pretty consistently, I decide to forego the display board. I instead just stack the little boxes on the Cardboard Scene display, be done with it, and make another Hot Toddy.

Week four, our little hockey players finally get their skates. I note with some stupor that they are double runner skates. Why would hockey players be in double runners? The sober corner of my mind says, "So the toys stand up," but then I wonder why the skates were not molded to the feet in the first place. What were these kids doing, playing hockey without skates for two weeks?

Then it hits me; Broomball!

I'm instructed to put some tiny ski poles and skis into a box, and I'm wondering who the hell is skiing. I don't remember a skiier. Maybe it's Snowman Builder Girl, she needed something else to do after freezing her butt off for a week. Then the instructions tell me to put tiny wheels on a tiny car frame, followed by a tiny car body, and put the resulting toy of a toy into one of the preprinted gift boxes and put that into one of the numbered boxes. The thought "TOYCEPTION," comes to me, my mind is momentarily blown and I make another Hot Toddy.

The toy car is apparently remote controlled, but by the time I found the remote, I was boxing up the toy bear so I just threw it in there. The toy bear is now remote controlled.

The Reindeer arrives on the 23rd, but he doesn't fit in his box unless you bow his head down way low so he's nibbling his hocks. He's also stunningly realistic in comparison to our stylized people, and boxy looking Santa, who also does not fit in his box unless you take the hat off.

At this point I see the purpose of the two unnumbered boxes, as I have a smattering of hats, a part of a harness, a tiny baby bottle, and a hockey puck leftover. I put these things into Grab BagBox and clean up my mess.

Dad comes home and notes the stack of tiny cardboard boxes. "It's supposed to be an Advent Calendar," I explain. "But I messed it up. It will still work."

"We're halfway through the month," he seems confused.

"Better late than never."

As I head to bed, the thought occurs to me that the tiny Playmobil hockey skates will likely fit on our Playmobil Pirates. Pirate Hockey must become a new Holiday Tradition. Why else would there be so much rum?

1 comment:

  1. Next year put a liqueur filled chocolate (or two) in each box so the adults can share the joy of advent too. :-)

    Though don't put one in with the hockey players. You don't want a liquor fueled fight to break out. :-) And watch out for the girl too. If she gets into the liquor and the hockey players break into her box, by the end of the holiday there might be a little 'miracle baby' to take the role of Baby Jesus. (yes I was stuck in a hotel with nothing to do but watch Small Soldiers on HBO Crappy)

    (PS The Toyception joke was great.)