What I got for my 12-day advent calendar
By Nhi ‘Jenny’ Vo, Production Assistant
You can fight me but Asian snacks are just 500 times better than Canadian ones. You guys only have chips, popcorn, and sweets with an alarming amount of sugar.
Christmas—the biggest holiday of the year—comes with lots of joy, presents, and probably turkey. Personally, for all the holidays, I enjoy the anticipation leading to the event more than the holidays themselves. Hence, I love the countdown! Nope, not the type where you spend hours standing in the freezing weather waiting for some unimpressive fireworks. I’m talking about advent calendars. I spent a lot on my Harry Potter advent calendar for Christmas 2020, so I decided to do something different for Christmas 2021.
I’m a part of the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club (IGGPPC). This Christmas, I joined an event called “12 Days of Cheer.” I was assigned a swap partner named Josie. We exchanged emails on what we would like to receive for Christmas. We discussed treats, hobbies, likes and dislikes to make sure the other person would actually like their gifts. The budget was around CAD 30. It was totally different from a normal Christmas shopping experience: I actually knew exactly what I needed to shop for, stayed within budget, and I only needed to wrap 12 small packages. Fortunately, Josie was located 10 minutes away from Douglas college. Instead of mailing out the presents, I went by her place to pick up my package and left hers on the front porch. Look at me saving money during the holiday season!
I enjoyed putting together a calendar for Josie as much as I enjoyed slowly opening my calendar. Here’s what Josie got for me:
- Strawberry: I mentioned in my emails that I like anything strawberry. Josie got me a cute mini strawberry notepad and some adorable stickers! I love stationery too so this is gold.
- Mini lights: You can’t have a proper holiday without colourful lights. I can’t put these 20 lights on my tree because they are too short. Instead, I used them to backlight my work monitor, making me feel a little more festive when I was overwhelmed with hundreds of emails.
- DIY ornament kit: I know these kits are supposed to be for 5-year-olds but I couldn’t help myself. It was a bit tricky putting it together because I’m the clumsiest person in the world. Josie also got me some scented stickers that smell like floral fragrances.
- Pocky: You can fight me but Asian snacks are just 500 times better than Canadian ones. You guys only have chips, popcorn, and sweets with an alarming amount of sugar. Pocky is my favourite Asian snack. It comes in so many different flavours. Matcha is hands down the second-best one, after strawberry of course. I also got some crackers but again, Canadian snacks are just below average. No offence!
- Penguin: Who wouldn’t love a plushie? Look at this cute little guy. My creative juices are no longer flowing so I named him Mr. Penguin. Let me know if you have a better suggestion. I have no idea how to use the headband that came with Mr. Penguin. It wouldn’t stay on my head!?
- Powder puff: I’m clueless about makeup and skincare so I thought this was a mini microphone! *facepalm* On the bright side, it’s a Spiderman powder puff! No spoilers please, I haven’t gotten tickets to the movie yet!
- Tea: Coffee itself tastes like bitter water unless you make it a double-double. Tea by itself, on the other hand, tastes just fine. I prefer adding a little bit of sugar or honey, but tea just has a better taste for me. I mentioned I loved green tea and Josie didn’t disappoint me.
- Dinosaur: I’m crazy about Lego and have fond memories of building them. However, this dinosaur was too difficult for me. It’s a different type of building block. The blocks are super small so I kept breaking the mouth and feet apart. After 90 minutes, I finally completed the mini-challenge.
- Socks: Getting just socks for Christmas probably sucks. Socks are great Christmas presents if they come with something else. They are also a great solution for Secret Santa or White Elephant. How can you say no to cute festive socks? The only drawback of having Christmas socks is that people might think you’re quite drunk if you wear these in the summer.
- Lego: Actually Lego! Even though this tiny set is nothing compared to a 2000-piece set that I spent half of my paycheque on, I still love it! At first, I thought I could only build one out of the four models (duck, snowman, bush, and sheep). It turned out I could build all four of them! They make a great addition to my Lego collection.
- Golden Snitch: In the Harry Potter books, if you catch this shiny golden ball, you get 150 points and likely end the Quidditch game with a win. Even though I’m not a Seeker or in Gryffindor, I felt like I won Christmas having this as one of the presents.
- Colouring book: Sorry Josie but this is my least favourite present out of the whole calendar. I’m a huge Schitt’s Creek fan, but colouring is my weakness. I’m not sure why people think colouring can be a fun pastime. I mean have you looked at adult colouring books? They are more complicated than the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
I would like to thank Josie for scoring A+ on this “12 Days of Cheer” event. I was feeling magical and excited like a kid on Christmas day, for 12 days in a row! The experience also taught me how to be more patient and not rip open all 12 presents in one day!