December is nearly here! If you are familiar with this blog you might remember that I invented the seasonal game Advent Bowl, a customized 24-day challenge to get me in the holiday spirit, work in some charitable giving, and relax with some self-care (plus a few self-indulgences) along the way.


We’re doing it this year, right?


Right, 9. I’m already thinking up a few new twists for Advent Bowl 2023 and plan to revisit some tried-and-true favorites. “Brandy in the eggnog” comes to mind. But I digress. . .


My first acquaintance with Advent Calendars is what someone from the Baby Boom generation might know from childhood. These were paper, with a holiday design (often a winter landscape or a cozy interior with a Christmas tree) on the top layer with numbered, perforated windows for each day of Advent. Behind the windows were smaller pictures of familiar holiday sights- -candy canes, Santa, Rudolph, wreaths, etc. My sister and I received our Advent Calendars from a grandparent, something to help us count down the seemingly endless days until Christmas arrived.


Advent “with a capital A” is a religious celebration running up to the birth of Jesus, who often appears behind the perforated window marked “24.” In this context, it’s a period for Christians to spiritually prepare for the celebration of the birth.


My celebration is more agnostic. Mostly it’s about surviving the darkest days of winter with sanity and spirits intact! In the general sense advent means the arrival, or anticipating the arrival, of something or someone. By December 24th, daylight has at last started extending on a daily basis. And, may I say, hooray for that!


But back to Advent Bowl?


Thanks for the redirect, Lily. This year the three of us are set for an Advent Bowl-o-Rama! Not only will we be doing our homemade version, we’ve received three different Advent Calendars as gifts. These go way beyond paper. There’s truly something for all three of us, both the inner and outer selves.


First, we have an Advent Puzzle:


Advent Calendar: 42 pieces a day for 24 days!



No fair! It says Age 14+.


Not to worry, 9, I can vouch for your credential as a puzzler beyond your tender years. There are 24 sections of puzzle, each in its own box, to be worked over 24 days. We should be able to do this even if we get really busy. And when we need caloric reinforcement we have this:


Advent jams, spreads and honey- -yummy!



I’m glad to see the ingredients look wholesome.



24 different spreads, so we’ll need 24 English muffins to go with. Then, when we’re taking a break to read:


Wow, Advent for book lovers!




We even have a week-long Advent Calendar for self-care:


Pause for a week of Advent self-care. . .



We’ll need it after the furious pace of working through all the others!

And don’t forget our own Advent Bowl!


I won’t, 9, though it might have an overarching theme of “simple is good”! And possibly a duplicate of “Brandy in the eggnog”. . .

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