Written by Daisy Leverington


Motherhood: Advent calendars, the little chocolate bastards

Motherhood hasn’t come naturally to Daisy Leverington. Four years in and she remains wide-eyed, terrified and in awe of the little person she’s responsible for. This week, the advent of advent prompts a detailed consumer test.

Daisy's daughter with a presentI need a quiet word with whoever in the Hallmark corporation invented the chocolate advent calendar.

Just five minutes alone in a room would do it, and no CCTV. Because, after an extensive four-and-a-half-year study, I’ve found that the real meaning of Christmas is not spending time as a family, or remembering the baby Jesus, nor is it presents by the sackload. It’s a chocolate every morning before school.

You’re welcome everyone: you may go about your day, eyes wide with the pearl of wisdom I just chucked into them.

It is with regret that Santa is fired. My child is not interested. She has heard the story and made the conscious decision that he is not a god she wishes to waste time on. Things might well change closer to the actual day, but for now Christmas is about the opening of a small cardboard door at 6am.

She has been conducting a research mission that NASA could learn from. Every shop we go to has to be checked for quality and price of advent calendar, lest we choose the wrong one. We have a shortlist of two; luckily both are pound shop bargs, so no Thornton’s nonsense for this little cocoa connoisseur.

A week before we open the first door, we are down to Disney Princess featuring Belle and Cinderella, or Minions. I’m holding my breath. Things are getting very tense. Every morning our kid asks how many sleeps until it’s chocolate time. The fact that Other Chocolate exists and some of it is even already in our house doesn’t interest her. White chocolate mice are offered and rejected; she is saving herself for the very specific, but inferior, taste of numbers 1-24.

Last year, Christmas day was a sombre affair after she realised there wasn’t a number 25, and that she had presents instead. That wasn’t what she needed to hear at the age of three. This year I’m gluing a door back on and changing the number just so we can get on with our day, although I could probably blanche the parsnips on the waves of sadness wafting off her face.

“It is with regret that Santa is fired. My child is not interested. She has heard the story and made the conscious decision that he is not a god she wishes to waste time on.”

Christmas has always been an odd time for me, but since our daughter was born I’ve discovered a reason to celebrate it rather than just plough through it. I should be grateful that she doesn’t ask for or expect anything. We don’t have TV in our house (we just stream stuff, so no adverts) so she has never been sold a product through the predatory medium of TV advertising.

She never asks for anything really, so we’re happy to indulge in this weird little quest for the perfect advent calendar even if it is starting to grate on my nerves.

Since starting school she has spoken about what other kids are getting for Christmas, a camera and a skateboard were mentioned, but she’s never asked for anything herself. We’ll do what we usually do and let the grandparents buy the big sparkly presents while we look for unusual gifts that don’t make any noise. Last year’s ukulele was a rookie mistake.

I wonder if this is the last year we can safely rinse the pound shop of all its stationery and have a happy girl. She’s a demon for a gel pen.

Maybe next year she’ll be more aware of how commercial it all gets, and start asking for bigger things. Once she sees her school mates with their haul it might all change, but for now I’m enjoying ploughing our combined energy into the hunt for 6am choccies. It might just be the cheapest Christmas shop we ever do.


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Written by Daisy Leverington

Daisy Leverington - Actor, mother, expert at winging it.