Little Joys—Mini-Cheese Advent Calendars

It’s December 1… do you know what this means?! This means I can open up the first window in my Aldi box of Emporium Selection Advent Cheese Calendar!

Also, it means the beginning of advent, the beginning of 24 days of family activities, the beginning of holding space for hope and anticipation.

But also, right now, it means cheese. I love cheese. You can count on sliced cheese, blocks of cheese, cartons of cheese, and bags of shredded cheese all coexisting in harmony in my refrigerator at any given time, and, right now, you can also find an advent calendar of cheese.

Cheese means a post-dinner, pre-bedtime nacho indulgence with my husband as we watch Friends or Parks and Rec or The Office. Cheese brings me back to junior high, when my mom and I would make a plate of cream cheese slathered in salsa or cocktail sauce with crackers as an average, every day afternoon snack. Cheese means dozens of charcuterie boards with girlfriends, late-night wine and cheese and chocolate-coated conversations, the substance of indulgence and sustenance that carried us through various crises and celebrations. At the beginning of the pandemic while we were all home, Brandon and I made time for Wine with DeWine, cutting cubes of sharp white cheddar.

The first time I remember eating baked brie was on New Year’s Eve. We were living in Ashland, on Morgan Avenue, and we had a couple of friends over. I baked brie with pecans and cranberries, wrapped in a puff pastry. Out of that golden orb of flaky crust poured warm gooey deliciousness, and as we watched TV and played games, I am pretty sure I ate nearly all of it, alone.

Cheese usually also means wine, and I also love wine.

Cheese means comfort. I looked it up. Actually, the etymology of “cheese” is strictly functional, possibly from some old root words that mean “to ferment, become sour, leaven,” etc. Cheese, like any good friendship, romance, relationship, or wine, takes time to become that which makes it savorable.

For the next 24 days, I get to sample Festive Mini Cheeses from my Cheese Advent Calendar. And it will be glorious.

Photo by Luna Lovegood:

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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