Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 12.01.16
Stanstead, Quebec



If you're like me (and if not, why not?), you probably didn't sleep a wink last night due to the sheer excitement that lay ahead of you this morning. No, not a fresh box of Cheez-Stuffed Razzleberry PopTarts. It's the first day of your advent calendar!

From now until Christmas Eve, you get to open one small window a day and delight in the small treat inside -- unless the treats are tiny liqueur-filled chocolates, in which case you're probably going to eat/drink them all alone this Saturday night watching "Gilmore Girls" on Netflix. Friends don't let friends advent binge. Or watch "Gilmore Girls."

Like the widespread appeal of pumpkin-spiced anything, the origins of the advent calendar are shrouded in mystery. As with many Christian traditions, it is thought to originate with the pagans. Boy, for a semi-primitive culture, those pagans sure came up with a lot of stuff. Shelf liners? Pagans. Negative billing? Pagans. Origami? The Japanese, but adopted by the pagans in the form of decorative napkin folding.

As we all know from reading antiquated National Geographics in dentists' offices, the pagans were renowned for keeping their enemies in small boxes, the type of box that might house a microwave. (Contrary to popular belief, the pagans did not invent the microwave.) Every year leading up to the winter solstice, the pagans would let one prisoner a day out of the box in order to demonstrate that they weren't such bad heathens after all.

This was known as the "advent" because the released prisoners would later explain to their loved ones, "I got oudda da box ad vent dattaway!" Then their loved would regret the prisoner's return.

This pagan rite of opening boxes was adopted by the Christians in the form of the advent calendar – - one box opened a day in anticipation of the birth of Christ, who was laid in a manger, which is also a box. Full circle.

Like most pagan rituals that became Christian rituals, the Christian advent calendar has reverted back to its pagan roots. Say "Merry Christmas" with this year's Walking Dead Lego Zombie-Parts Advent Calendar With Real Bile!

Advent calendars are filled with fun and really cheap chocolate. They are a true Christmas tradition.

But I have a better idea.

2016 has been one dismal year. Society not at its best. One pagan short of human sacrifice. Incomplete sentences. Instead of taking things out of the advent calendar, how about we put all the miserable things and put them into the box?

Here then are my proposals for the Reverse Advent Calendar:

    December 1: Fabric softener dryer sheets
    December 2: Black Friday. It's just Friday. Plain Friday
    December 3: Kanye West
    December 4: Hair-trigger outrage
    December 5: Beloved rock stars and celebrities, not as punishment but to keep them safe, the poor dears.
    December 6: Sandwiches cut in rectangles instead of triangles
    December 7: The phrase "ethical marketing"
    December 8: People who say, "I don't want to be a jerk" and then proceed to be a jerk
    December 9: Corn sold by the tens instead of the dozens (metric corn?)
    December 10: Competitive puppy tossing – not a real thing but just in case December 11: People who say, "It didn't pass mustard with me" instead of "pass muster"
    December 12: Passing mustard
    December 13: People on the phone who won't take "goodbye" for an answer
    December 14: Flat-head screws
    December 15: People who say, "Try these snow peas! They're like candy!" They are nothing at all like candy!
    December 16: My teenage journals. Actual sample phrase: "My funeral would be quite crowded. The young victim taken in his prime."
    December 17: All sources of harm: guns, bombs, white people
    December 18: Twitter wars
    December 19: Comment sections
    December 20: Normalizing Donald Trump
    December 21: Inattention to detail
    December 23: All the stupid stuff that gets on my nerves and all the stuff I don't agree with because they're stupid, stupid, stupid!
    December 24: Intolerance
What's in your reverse advent calendar? Let me know: