Courtesy of Cat Bowen; Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's 99-Cent Advent Calendars Are Back

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I could sit here and write about how I'm totally not the kind of basic mom who rushes to buy advent calendars in early November, but that would be a lie. And I know I'm not alone, because the 99-cent Trader Joe's advent calendars are back, and they always sell out long before advent begins.

To be fair, they're always cute, the chocolate is good, and they're conveniently located next to the checkout aisle. This year, the themes are Holiday Traditions and Tidings, Design Your Own Ugly Christmas Sweater, Nisse (Scandinavian Gnomes), and The Adventure of Fearless Fox and His Tangled-Up Scarf. They each have 24 spaces that house the chocolate countdown. But it's possible that not all of these will be available for 99 cents at all locations, because, according to their site, "details of this item may have changed due to fluctuating market prices, federal regulations, currency rates, drought, pestilence, bandits, rush hour traffic, filibusters, zombie apocalypse, punctilious product developers." So if there are zombies nearby, your prices might be slightly higher.

This is just one of like half a dozen advent calendars that will be around the house this Christmas, but I love TJ's, and I'm a sucker for a good surprise.

I also grabbed one of Trader Joe's pet advent calendars for my dog, and one for each of my cats, because that's apparently a thing now. It should be noted that the fur baby calendars are $6, but they're a bit more specialized, so I'll give TJ's a pass on that. The kitty calendar is filled with salmon and seaweed flavored treats, and the calendar for your doggos is filled with salmon and sweet potato treats.

Courtesy Cat Bowen

Legit I didn't even tell my daughter why we were at Trader Joe's, but when she saw they were on the floor, she immediately went and grabbed a few. She was more than happy to pose in the frozen foods section for a few pictures. Well, so long as I agreed to buy her the ice cream sandwiches that she loves, as well as the shrimp summer roll with peanut sauce to eat in the car on the way home.

She's a girl who knows her TJ's, and she isn't above wielding her adorable social influence status to get her favorite treats. Little does she know I was planning on buying those anyway, because I didn't want to make lunch, and I, too, love the cookie ice cream sandwiches. Even if she thinks it's her Baba who eats them when she goes to bed. Oh how wrong she is. (Her Baba eats the peppermint Joe Joe's when she's asleep. We tell her that we have a sugar fairy who comes in and steals our cookies, and she tells us we're full of crap.)

More likely we're full of sugar and fat, and likely a whole lot of their herb and spice popcorn, but that's really neither here nor there in the grand scheme of things.

Trader Joe's

Honestly, they have a ton of great holiday stuff right now, so the advent calendar is just gilding the lily. Seriously, for the autumn and winter, TJ's has a peanut-butter-stuffed peanut butter cookie. Yes, I bought four boxes. Yes, my family ate one of those boxes last night. I know we have a small addiction to simple carbohydrates, and I'm not proud of it, but I'm also not doing anything to change it, so I suppose we are at an impasse. Or I'm just really self aware.

But, since I have bought my advent calendars, and peppermint Joe Joe's, I guess it's time to put up my Christmas tree, and start playing John Legend and Mariah Carey all day, every day. I'M willing to bet that they, too, would love the peanut butter cookies and the 99-cent advent calendars, because they make beautiful holiday music and love good things. If they don't, I might begin to wonder about their taste in baked goods and good deals.