We have a rather unique Advent calendar (although, my sisters' families also have them, as my parents gave them to us). It's an Advent ark!
Inside the magnetically latched compartments are different animals. Ideally, since they came in pairs (even though we know there were more than just two of every kind of animal on the ark!), one animal from the pair goes on one side of the ark and his or her mate goes on the flip side. (Yes, the ark spins on its axis.)
So, there is a fun element for the kids in being able to open a special door every day, place an animal on the deck of the ark, and then, halfway to Christmas, spin the boat around and do it all over again. We usually count up the numbers to the 24th, but I'm sure many would be happier counting down to 1-day-left!
...unless you're RJ2, who is still trying to understand how a calendar works. This one does not have the names of the days of the week on it, nor does it have a week of seven days. Opening up only one day at a time?? Waiting until tomorrow?!!!?
So, while CJ has been named the official calendar helper of Advent, RJ2 is learning about the animals. Did you know that the animals talk and visit with each other (usually, "on the weekend," as she likes to note)? And, sometimes, dinner has to happen at our house, and the boat has to be "docked," because the animals would join us at the table and most likely devour everything (unlike most nights at dinner!).
"Mom, can I please play with the boat?"
It's a lot to take in, but their enthusiasm is what's more important (so long as RJ2 doesn't drop another animal on the floor! CJ doesn't remember how many animals she dropped when she was RJ2's age).
Maybe we all need to put down our anchors this season, and wait for the return of the Dove....