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Unwrapping Gift Box

Kristen Felicetti


As a small child, I loved advent calendars. I woke eagerly each morning to snap that day’s window open, revealing an image of a fawn, or the North Star, or perhaps a wise man offering up some frankincense to baby Jesus. The anticipation was too much, I often cheated, peeking at a future day’s window and then scrambling to seal the cardstock back together. I did a poor job and got in trouble, which is funny to remember now. Ah, classic Kristen, ruining the Felicetti family advent calendar. And for what reward? A tiny religious illustration. Our calendar didn’t even have chocolates or candies to steal, as I hear others do. 


Many years later, in college, I watched a video on a famous study about self-control and delayed gratification. Children were seated at a desk with a bell. A researcher stepped away and said, Wait for me to return and receive two of your preferred treats (either pretzels or marshmallows). Or ring the bell at any point, upon which I will return immediately, but you will receive only one lesser treat.


After class, we all discussed which of the two types of children we would be. Like everyone, I bragged I would wait, for those who waited longer tended to have better life outcomes. But in my heart, I knew I would be ring, ring, ringing the bell the moment the moderator left the room. 















Kristen Felicetti wrote Your Important American Historical Figure

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