What You Won’t Find in Your Advent Calendar - Word&Way

What You Won’t Find in Your Advent Calendar

Advent has gone to the dogs. But it might kill them.

Earlier this week, Costco announced a recall of its Advent calendar for canines. The big box store explained that its little Advent boxes included treats that “do not meet our quality standards” (though we’re talking about creatures who eat out of trash cans, so their standards might not justify a Costco membership). The store advised people to “stop feeding the treats to your pet immediately.”

What Costco left unanswered is how to explain to dogs that their Advent experience suddenly ended two weeks before Christmas. Doggone it!

(Karsten Winegeart/Unsplash)

Costco also didn’t address why their calendar only included 25 days (to run Dec. 1 through Christmas), instead of starting on the first Sunday of Advent — which this year was Nov. 28. Sure, it had 80 treats, but if we want to really teach our pooches about Advent let’s ensure the right number of squares are included for them to open. Cartoons may claim all dogs go to heaven, but we’re not so sure (especially that yappy one next door).

Perhaps we’re overly cynical, but it almost seems like this product was never intended to prepare a dog’s heart for Jesus’s arrival. Apparently it was just one more way for Costco to make a few bucks by slapping the word “Advent” on some cheap product.

Jesus warned us of this abomination that causes desolation.

“Do not give dogs what is holy,” he said just before also advising against casting pearls before pigs.

Fortunately, Costco didn’t have an Advent calendar for swine this year (and we apologize for now inspiring them). But the London Zoo did make an Advent calendar for its meerkats — and then advertised it to apparently attract tourists. And what would help a meerkat get into the Advent season? We assume our question sparks nothing but the sounds of crickets. Because that’s the answer!

As Robert Klara of Adweek explained about what he called “possibly the world’s first meerkat Advent calendar,” the zookeepers chose crickets for the Christmas countdown since “human treats like chocolate aren’t good for meerkats, who generally aren’t into reading Bible verses either.” Of course, since they’re “unclean” animals, we imagine they stopped their read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan in Leviticus (like pretty much all of us).

Lest you think we’re just having a cow over Advent gifts for creatures, our beef extends beyond the animal kingdom. After all, the dog and meerkat “Advent” items are really aimed at getting people to spend money. With the explosion of new Advent gimmicks at stores this year, we’re seeing an attempt to transform a sacred time into just another dash for cash.

So, in this issue of A Public Witness, we countdown the ways the war on Advent is taking off. And while many are accepting the ways of consumerism whole hog, we open up the doors of how the Gospel has a serious message for us in these seemingly absurd times.

NOTE: The rest of this piece is only available to paid subscribers of the Word&Way e-newsletter A Public WitnessSubscribe today to read this essay and all previous issues, and receive future ones in your inbox.