Chanel recently got its ass handed to itself—for the purposes of this sentence, please go along with the premise that French luxury brands have asses—after complaints about the lackluster contents of its $825 Advent calendar started gaining traction online. People who purchased the calendar were less than thrilled that some of its promised treasures turned out to be things like … Chanel stickers. And Chanel magnetic bookmarks.
Those who bought the pricey calendar were rightly upset about the raw deal—I mean, if I spend $825 on an Advent calendar, I better die. But people who didn’t shell out the money were also up in arms, I suspect, because Chanel violated the sacred covenant of the Advent calendar. These things seem to be one of the few traditions out there that people unreservedly enjoy, and for Chanel to mess with that? C’est n’importe quoi!
Advent calendars: Have you noticed that people seem really into them lately? As my colleague Madison Malone Kircher recently explained, they’re kind of everywhere now. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, they’re a product meant to be displayed in your home as a way to count down the days from the start of this month until Christmas, and for each day there’s a different surprise for you to discover. In recent years, they’ve transformed from quaint delivery systems for parts of the Christmas story or pieces of chocolate into a retail trend that can be applied to virtually every category of gift: Beyond beauty, there are wine Advent calendars, Advent calendars of “cherished” and “exclusive” marshmallows, even Advent calendars of treats for your dog. So devoted are fans of the Bonne Maman Advent calendar of jams that some publications treat its annual release like a news event.
Well, as a person who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, I can’t help but notice that these calendars are evidence that Christians have taken a shine to the concept of gift-giving spread over multiple nights—gee, wonder where they got that idea! But not being concerned with what little jam or potentially disappointing beauty product I’m going to open today and post on my Instagram Story, I am also able to look at Advent calendars through the shrewd, unsentimental eyes of a businesswoman.
Which brings me to the following: Sharks, I have a really exciting business idea. OK, so you know how people love Advent calendars? (I just wrote several paragraphs about it, so hopefully you do.) What if we had them for the entire year? Picture it: a calendar that contains 365 little presents. Everything you love about Advent calendars, times 12. More fussy little things of jam than you’ll know what to do with. A beautiful vision, no? Are your eyes not welling up with tears?
I understand why, in the past, it may have seemed prudent to limit Advent calendars to December: to preserve a little of their specialness, Christmas comes but once a year, etc. The rest of the year was the Purge, and then in December we got rewarded for surviving, with 25 small gifts. But as we stare down the barrel of 2022 and the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, I think we can all agree that desperate times call for desperate measures. The Advent calendar being one of the few remaining sources of joy on this Earth, it’s time to unshackle ourselves from silly societal mores that dictate that we should only get these daily treats one measly month a year.
I know, I know, you’re thinking: We can’t do that! What about religion and holiness and stuff! But I am here to tell you that we can do it. We can do whatever we want—we’re adults. If we want a little present every day and we’re willing to pay money for it to be packaged in an attractive way, there’s no reason why we can’t make that happen. It would be like the subscription box trend, which many companies were all too happy to jump on, but cuter, and every day. How to actually design an all-year Advent calendar that isn’t bigger than a piece of furniture I will leave to more experienced Advent calendar engineers than I. (Unless? Could we make combination furniture–Advent calendars that contained 365 pieces of candy hidden in them? Something else to consider?) In any event, I am confident it can be done. I believe in the power of human ingenuity. Not, like, in general, but for this specific thing. And a little piece of advice for Chanel should it decide to go this route: Consider charging a bit less than whatever $825 times 12 is.