The chocolate story
Last year, we got the kids LEGO Advent calendars and they were a huge success. We didn’t call them Advent calendars, however, because we didn’t put a religious spin on them. Instead we commercialized the hell out of them and called them Countdown to Christmas calendars. And we shamelessly bribed the children into good behavior each day by threatening to withhold the precious cargo if they didn’t shape up.
This year, I found a calendar at Whole Foods with some free-trade chocolate, which made me feel superior to everyone who bought his or her kids’ high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden Advent calendar at Big Lots. Imagine my surprise when I got it home and Josh raised his eyebrows.
“What’s with the nativity scene?” he asked.
“Where?” I asked indignantly. Why would there be a nativity scene on an Advent calendar? Oh. Right. And there, in the middle of the calendar with the big old “25″ on it, was a huge halo lighting the happy little family from behind. Well, ummm, yeah. But it’s free trade, Josh! No blood chocolate here! The beans were picked by happy, contented cocoa plantation workers who were paid a decent wage and were all over the age of 18 with access to health care and schooling!
Josh sighed and walked away and I triumphed to open tiny door No. 1 the next day. And lo, the Holy Spirit must have entered our home because all I have to do is even hint that the little doors will remain closed and behavior is magically changed for the better. If this is religion, sign me up.
But every night when they open the door for that day, we all get a little 411 on Bethlehem and Mary and Joseph and there being no room at the inn. Not only don’t my children know who the three kings are, but they also don’t know what an inn is. Teachable moments!
Which brings us to the car ride home from Boston Market last week. Listen, the kids had tennis until 5 p.m. and I had a holiday party with the moms from school and the siren song of the drive-thru called my name.
As we pulled out of the restaurant driveway onto the main street, Emmie excitedly pointed out her side of the car. “Look! Hey guys, look, there’s that family from the chocolate story!”
Jack and Maeve immediately congratulated her on such a good spot and I frantically ran through a mental list of what in the name of glue guns she could be talking about. I saw a lit-up manger scene in someone’s front yard and realized she was referring to the Holy Family. But of course, she knows them as the family from the calendar. I almost drove the car into the median trying to stifle my laughter.
Not to be outdone, Jack kicked in his own two cents. “Emmie, did you know that baby’s name is Yeezus?”
I actually shook with silent laughter and thanked the baby Yeezus that we were stopped at a red light as there was no way I could have driven even two more feet in such a state. Kanye would be so proud.