chanel, advent calendar, chanel advent calendar

@eliseharmon on TikTok

Sure, you could celebrate the holidays with a traditional advent calendar filled with chocolates. Maybe if you want to indulge, you can splurge on one from Godiva (yes, they have one).

But what if you want the ultimate advent calendar experience? After all, who needs tradition when you can have luxury.

As it turns out, several high-end brands are offering this option, including an $825 first-time edition Chanel No. 5 advent calendar. Shaped like a giant perfume bottle, it does give off an exuberant air of class and sophistication.

Elise Harmon (@eliseharmon) excitedly purchased her premium calendar in store. Though Chanel’s website shares what waits inside, Harmon had no idea what to expect.

Impressed by the initial impression of the product’s “10 out of 10” packaging, Harmon decided to document her unboxing on TikTok. That video soon went viral, mostly for Harmon's hilarious underwhelm. But also roasting Chanel's questionable quality control.

For one thing, it didn’t even have a full calendar.


“It starts on day number five…I guess for Chanel No. 5…” Harmon says. Red flag number one.

But hey, all in the name of marketing, right? Remaining optimistic, Harmon opened up day number nine, which had, drumroll please … stickers.

“This has to be a joke, this is a joke. Stickers?! Stickers?!” she says in shock.

On a positive note, she did seem happy about the tiny hand cream that followed.

Plus the video was teeming with hilarious comments:

"Those stickers better keep my life together."

"It’s giving me white elephant gift exchange when u finally get the biggest present but inside it’s just a toilet plunger."

"Say Chanel is going broke without saying they’re going broke."

So, yeah. There’s that.

Sure, Harmon might have received some nice lipstick and a tree ornament (yay!), but she also now has to figure out what to do with an empty dust bag, a magnet, some temporary tattoos and a flipbook.

Oh and let’s not forget the keychain.

“I’m really not sure how I’m supposed to live-laugh-love under these conditions,” Harmon jokes, which I might steal as my new catchphrase.

@eliseharmon

Reply to @mishmasharen

♬ The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) - Nat King Cole Trio

The real controversy happened after Diet Prada shared Harmon's story on their company Instagram, revealing that some items were previously given away for free with other purchases.

Still, Harmon remains in good spirits about it, sharing her misfortune with a sense of humor.

@eliseharmon

bless this mess

♬ Sleigh Ride - Leroy Anderson

Though the whole debacle was hilariously documented, and yes, points to some flawed logic we have about expectation versus reality, it also sheds light on a new cultural shift as well.

Chanel is not the only company to offer these holiday items at exorbitant prices. You can get one from Neiman Marcus ($300), Acqua di Parma ($600) or even Tiffany's ($150,000). And even if those other brands didn’t include something as egregious as a flipbook, odds are at least some of those items aren’t exactly worth the overall price.

Why? Because now more than ever, luxury needs to elicit a genuine feeling through quality experience. Simply pasting a logo onto a piece of plastic isn’t going to do it.

What’s more, Harmon has unboxed a whole new level of responsibility and accountability belonging to high-end companies. Simply put, if companies slack, the betrayal consumers experience will be made public. And virally followed.

Since then, Harmon has become something of an advent calendar influencer, as several companies sent her samples, which have gotten positive reviews. So there’s no need to “bah humbug” all the advent calendars out there.

And it goes without saying, but quality experiences don’t have to be bought. Even during the most overspending inducing season of the year.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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