The Advent Calendar: Neopia's Largest Celebration
The Month of Storing has come to a close, and thousands of Neopians are packing their bags to head North. These adventurous citizens are hoping to be one of the many in line for Terror Mountain’s 19th annual Advent Calendar. I am Zoe Zafara, lead investigative reporter with NEOTV news and part-time journalist at the Neopian Times, and today I’m taking you on the scene of Neopia’s largest celebration of the year!
Every year, for just thirty-one days, Terror Mountain transforms from a remote tundra that few would brave to a place of gifts, lights, and Borovan. The local townsfolk, not used to receiving many tourists during the off-season, happily open their homes and businesses to visitors from all across the world. These tourists will collect items, play games, visit shops, and buy food throughout the entire event, allowing Terror Mountain’s economy to carry on until the next Month of Celebrating.
During my visit I had a chance to stop and chat with one of Happy Valley’s most renowned business owners, the Scratchcard Kiosk Wocky. He was able to shed some light on just how big of an impact this event has on the local economy.
Zoe: "Tell me, how does the Advent Calendar affect your business during the Month of Celebrating? Is it really that big of an event for your town?"
Kiosk Wocky: "Absolutely! This time of year, my business runs at 3700% of its typical monthly volume. Tourists are buying scratch cards for themselves - banking on a little bit of holiday luck - or they’re taking them back home to their friends and family as gifts. I’ve received winning scratchcards mailed in all the way from Mystery Island!"
Z: "Wow! So you’re saying if the Advent Calendar were to end, Happy Valley would suffer for it?"
KW: "Oh, my pocketbook would definitely take a bit of a hit, but shops like Wintery Petpets…well, it breaks my heart but without the winter business I don’t think they’d be able to keep the lights on. Terror Mountain relies on the Advent Calendar to keep our economy thriving."
Speaking of Wintery Petpets, I had received a tip about one of the celebrities from last year’s Advent Calendar. After saying thanks to the Scratchcard Kiosk Wocky for accepting my interview, and being pressured into taking a couple (okay, I bought ten) scratchcards for the road, I headed across town to the festive petpet boutique. Inside, I found a cheerful Bruce tending to the many Petpets, one of which was Y18’s famous Fir.
Z: "How has he been adjusting to life after stardom?"
Bruce: "Well, he’s developed quite the ego compared to the others." (She laughs.) "But inside I know he’s still the same sweet little guy I knew a year ago!"
Z: "Your shop provided the Abominable Snowball for Y17’s Advent Calendar as well, correct?"
B: "We did! That one has since gone off with a lovely owner, you know they’re much easier to care for than these high-energy rascals!" (She motions toward the Fir, attempting to climb up a window curtain.) "We were really honored to participate two years in a row, it means a lot that the organizers work with our small local businesses instead of pulling big name advertisers from Neopia Central!"
Z: "That’s so lovely!" (The Fir was now sniffing my winter boots, surely catching whiffs of my Puppyblew back home.) "Say, can you give me an inside scoop on who the big celebrity will be for Y19’s Calendar?"
B: (She chuckles.) "Afraid not! I wouldn’t want to ruin the holiday magic for you or any of your readers, you’ll just have to be patient!"
After bribing the Fir to return my voice recorder with a piece of Iced Gingerbread Cookie, I said my thanks to the Wintery Petpets shopkeeper and took my leave. I made a quick stop at Merry Outfits, having realized that my light Denim Jacket was nowhere near appropriate for Terror Mountain’s infamous weather. After locating a charming winter coat, with coordinating scarf and earmuffs, I headed north to the ski lift, which would take me up to the Top of the Mountain.
Here, shivering atop the tallest peak in Neopia, I encountered an issue. I had planned to interview Terror Mountain’s most powerful resident, Taelia the Snow Faerie, but one of my colleagues had informed me she was down south in Faerieland, by request of Queen Fyora herself. If you are curious to know more, you can read my colleague’s article yourself, but I won’t dilute this cheerful holiday article with mentions of Wraith or destruction.
I was not about to turn away having come all this way for an interview, so instead I pushed through the flurries of snow toward the quaint little Toy Repair Shop. Though the windows were frosted over from the blizzard, I could still make out a distinct yellow glow coming from inside the cottage. A bell rang as I open the heavy wooden door, and Donny, an aging Bori, turned around to see who had entered. After a brief introduction, he agreed to go on record with a quick interview for this piece.
Z: "Now your shop is rather further north than the Advent Calendar down in Happy Valley, do you see any additional business during the Month of Celebrating?"
Donny: "If the wind is comin’ up the side of the mountain, I can hear the music from down in the Ice Rink. But no, I don’t fetch much business from the Advent Calendar…per se." (He leans in closer to my voice recorder, as if someone else is listening to our conversation.) "But I’ll tell ye somethin’. Those toys they give out at that Calendar, they’re no good. First few days, e’ryone’s havin’ a good time, then the kiddo’s new toys start breakin’ and they come up here to have me fix ‘em up. I fix more of ‘em Advent Calendar toys than anything else the whole year!"
Z: "Oh, are you saying the gifts for the Advent Calendar aren’t of the highest quality?"
D: "I ain’t sayin’ nothin’, just tellin’ ye what I see."
After an awkward goodbye, I exited the Toy Repair Shop. Having conducted enough interviews for the day, I headed back to my lodgings in Happy Valley, where the final preparations are taking place for Y19’s Advent Calendar.
A line has already started to gather outside the Advent Calendar as many Neopians hope to be the first to grab this year’s exclusive gifts. Happy Valley’s residents have covered the entire village in strung up lights and wreaths, creating a magical image like something out of a storybook. Whether you’re a newcomer to the festivities, or you’ve been a loyal visitor for 18 straight years, I urge you to come out and experience this heartwarming event during the Month of Celebrating.
From myself, NEOTV, and everyone at the Neopian Times:
Happy Advent Calendar!