In the run-up to Christmas I was reminded once again how ridiculous, grotesque and out of control a certain aspect of our culture has become.

I’m talking, of course, about Advent Calendars.
When I was a kid growing up, Advent Calendars were still relatively simple affairs. They were mostly religious with images of the Nativity or the Coming of the Magi. The windows revealed pictures of angels, camels, stars and perhaps the Infant Christ himself on Christmas Eve.
They had changed little from their origins in 19th century Lutheran Germany as a way to count the days preceding Christmas. The basic design of opening windows to reveal small pictures inside was already there in the earliest calendars. They were also often reusable.
The slightly more expensive versions came with a small chocolate inside each window. These were rarely extravagant but they were the beginning of the madness that Advent Calendars would descend into years later.
It was the chocolate advent calendars that introduced more secular themes. Initially these tended to be depictions of olde worlde Victoriana scenes but later became dominated by cute cartoon images of Santa with snowmen and reindeer shaped chocolates to match.
Inevitably, the marketing men at film and television studios couldn’t let this chance to grab more cash from the pockets of stressed parents pass by. Those cute chocolate-filled cartoon calendars soon ditched generic Santas and replaced them with your favourite Saturday cartoons.
The status quo remained like this all the way through the 1990s and 2000s. Corporate mascots were plastered on calendars for the kids, though traditional ones were still possible to find. Ultimately, they remained a cheap festive stocking-filler targeted at children.
At some point in the last decade all this changed. Advent Calendars underwent a rapid transformation from simple childhood countdown to an ever more grotesque display of slavish consumerism and eternal evasion of adult responsibilities.
It seems that the change first occurred in 2010 when make-up company L’Oreal created a £60 calendar for the British department store Selfridges full of luxury beauty products. Here’s a photo.
Every year since then more and more Advent Calendars are released aimed squarely at adults. These can be luxury items like make-up or high-end perfume where a new product is behind every daily window... alcoholism inducing versions that offer a new gin every morning. Not all of these are limited to cheap miniature-sized bottles: this particular calendar is priced at £10,000 and contains rare whiskies.
What is happening here? What has happened to western culture when a Christmas tradition now markets pork scratching calendars to kidults and the UK chain Greggs (which sells savoury snacks to lower class Brits) has a calendar depicting Christ as one of their sausage rolls?
Butt plug Advent Calendars come into being when their purpose is no longer to mark the days till Christ’s birth but to fulfil the demand for a treat every day. In this way modern adults have lost all spirituality and are now no different to dogs or small children.
It is also the natural growth of the extension of capitalism. Every thing that was once sacred must be commoditised and commercialised for maximum consumption. Calendars must get bigger and flashier and pricier - and the market base must grow till it even covers your dog.
You can’t just buy your kid Lego for Christmas now. You have to buy them a Lego Advent Calendar too. And a separate Lego gift for their “Christmas Eve Box” which is also rapidly becoming a new trend.
These calendars also highlight the removal of restraint in people. Instead of restricting themselves from overindulgence, people are now encouraged to follow every whim and consoom. The lower class consoomer gets his sausage roll calendar, the middle class one gets his Funko Pops
Like every thing else, calendars are devolving into bugman items. Bugman-think is the vile combination of manipulated consoomerism, faux intellectualism, rancid irony, spiritual nihilism and identity based on products and attributes. All of that is on display in this one box!
Nature abhors a vacuum, so while Advent Calendars are currently silly, it’s only a matter of time before the new religion moves in and takes over. You can already buy BLM Christmas decorations. How long before we see diversity calendars with a daily minority behind each window?
(It wouldn’t be the first time an ideology has taken over Advent Calendars. The Nazis produced a calendar featuring pictures of Wehrmacht soldiers, Russian tanks being blown up and Allied ships being sunk by German submarines.)
(Further aside: Britain’s Labour Party released a £20 Jeremy Corbyn calendar in 2017 filled with luxury chocolates and all profit going to Jeremy’s election fund.)
This, of course, is also inevitable.
Asia isn’t safe either. I am just beginning to detect the first emergence of “Advent Calendars” that countdown the days till Chinese New Year. I expect “Easter Calendars” filled with daily chocolate eggs to appear soon. Ditto for Valentine’s Day.
If you really wish to countdown the days till Christmas in a meaningful way, you are probably best returning to tradition and utilising a simple Advent Wreath or a series of candles. These are easy to make and look better than the 25 Hot Sauces of Christmas.
All of the above also equally applies to the other recent trend of ironically grotesque ugly Christmas sweaters. The causes and the symptoms are the same. Bearded bugmen are also involved.
That’s it from Moldbugman for today. Hope you all had a good Christmas and next year’s is better. Happy new year!
You can follow @moldbugman.
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