Five Christmases ago, I began a tradition with my then long-distance, overly worked boyfriend. He mentioned to me in mid-November that he was worried he would miss the holidays...and not in the sentimental way. He literally was afraid the entire month of December would pass and he wouldn't know it because he was always in the office.

I was determined to remind him it was Christmas-time. I couldn't bear the thought of him coming home to a quiet, cold apartment with a $10 Wal-Mart Christmas tree and not even have time to turn on the twinkle lights. So, I crafted a brilliant plan to bring an Advent Calendar filled with little goodies to open each day when he got home from the office.
Screenshot from
No matter what holiday you celebrate in December {or in other months throughout the year}, you should recognize that the above contraption is an Advent Calendar. Though the one I purchased is a little less crazy, it is similar in size and proportion. I grew up opening ones with chocolates behind the doors--and I couldn't wait the days to pass to get another piece.

I carted the filled calendar through airport security in DC, where I received some strange looks-- even in 2006--while on my way to Charlotte for Thanksgiving break. It was quite the hit with him that year--and he pledged to fill the calendar for me the next year. We've rotated the last four Christmases, and now, it's my turn again :)
Image via weheartit
When I filled the calendar the first year, it made me happy to know he had something to come home to at the end of a long day. The calendar deafened the pain of long-distance ever-so-slightly in the midst of a season where it is ever-present your significant other is absent. To hear the joy in his voice when he'd be opening a door on the phone was worth all the effort...and to see his willingness to do the same for me warmed my heart.

Now that we're married, we continue the tradition. The goodies don't always end up fitting in the doors of the calendar, so they sit under that same $10 Wal-Mart tree I'm too stubborn to replace...until we get our dream home, of course.


  1. What a great inspirational post, I too love the advent calenders for my children and am determined to find one like your's [a secret treasure trove!]I am now your newest follower, I also have a new blog so please visit sometime I hope to inspire you and many others!

  2. Too cute! I might have to try this. Xo!

  3. I love advent calendars and this idea! How cute! So glad you found my blog...I'll be following yours as well :)

  4. what a sweet idea :)

  5. This is so sweet! I just found your blog, I dated my now husband long-distance for almost two years, and we have two more weeks of it before I finish up school. Love other long distance stories!

  6. Happy to share this little tradition :) even happier to have people who care to listen! Thanks for the blog love....hope you'll come back soon! xo