Mystery chocolate piece in advent calendar

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My wife bought advent calendars for my two daughters from Trader Joe's. The calendars cost ninety-nine cents apiece. Behind each of the 24 little doors is a piece of chocolate with a symbol representing the holidays on it. One piece of chocolate had a sleigh with presents in it, for instance. All of the symbols have been easily recognizable, if somewhat crude. But the pieces of chocolate my daughters got today is a mystery.

None of us can tell what it is. It's not a squirrel; we already got a piece of chocolate that looked like a squirrel and this looks like nothing like that one.

This looks vaguely skull-like, or an H.P. Lovecraft monster, maybe. I don't know if the picture above is upside down, sideways or right side up. I have a feeling the readers of Boing Boing will be able to figure out what it is pretty quickly, though. And then it will snap into clarity. Or maybe not.


  1. It’s the, um, Diadem of Our Lady of the Vicissitudes. Or possibly part of the Eagle Nebula.

  2. That’s a possibility, But you have to admit that would be pretty weird looking berry or nut.

  3. My husband pointed out the holly leaves and said the bigger part is probably an ornament. I can somewhat see that. Or a really large ribbon.

    Or something else!

  4. Perhaps mistle toe!

    I can also see Santa with a large sack of gifts, atop his sleigh.

    It’s a Christmas Rorschach!

  5. Santa Claus carrying a sack, walking towards the left in profile? This is like a Christmas-themed Rorschach inkblot…

  6. Its Santa in a sleigh with a big sack of toys,, turn counter clockwise a bit..
    the santa is a negative impression it looks like..-

  7. Reindeers on the bottom and Santa and his big present bag on the sleigh?
    I guess they ran out of simple images hahaha :D

  8. Every time I think I have it, my eureka moment fades as some other compositional element makes clear that it cannot possibly be right.

  9. I’m thinking it’s Santa’s sleigh with a packed bag of presents on top, like in “The Grinch”.

  10. Is this a Black Sabbath themed Advent calendar? This is obviously an homage to the cover of the album “Born Again.”

  11. From every angle, going clockwise, I’ve got: the Eiffel Tower being hit by a giant bowling ball, a ray gun, a guy holding a bag of trash, and what could be Santa’s sleigh with a bag of toys on it if you really squint. That last one’s a stretch.

  12. Its an evil cyclops skull that was chained to the wall of some cave. Those are some of the links of the chain on the left there. (At least in the orientation I’m looking at here).

    What that has to do with Christmas or Advent, I do not know.

    You’re welcome.

  13. Henry! You ruined this whole batch! That’s the last time I let you near the molds.

    Ah, put ’em in the Trader Joe’s order.

  14. It’s a shoggoth, clearly. You seem to have gotten the “At The Mountains of Madness” themed advent calendar.

  15. Since everyone seems to be seeing something different in this piece of chocolate, I am going to conclude that it’s nothing at all.

    It is possibly a shape the designers threw in last minute, because they were only able to come up with 23 ideas, but needed one more, so they came up with some biomorphic form that could be interpreted as being anything with a bit of imagination. Children do have very active imaginations.

  16. It’s a cry for help from the melting glacier Santa lives on. Put it under a warm bulb for the full effect.

  17. Holly leaves and a sleigh-bell? Based on the what’s supposed to be in the TJ advent calendar, it’s probably intended to be a gigantic berry, and either there was a defect in the pour, or, more likely, the dimple is intended to represent a highlight.

    People saying “mistletoe” are confusing it with holly. Mistletoe isn’t spiky.

  18. I say it is a Christmas pudding just like my english grandmama makes. They are shaped like an overturned mixing bowl and are adorned with Holly. Check out Google images for examples.

    Mike from Sunny Victoria BC

  19. I think it`s a negative mold image of holly sprigs and berry. The matrix has been reversed–an easy enough slip to make when using an AutoCAD-style casting design process. Never would have happened in the olde dayes, though.

  20. I keep thinking of Cthulu. No matter how much I try to see sugarplums and holly and sleighs…. I just see webbing, and tentacles, and a big evil EYE.

    Cthulhu fhtagn…

  21. It’s the “Kilroy was Here” nose/hand thing with a crown of thorns on it’s head.

  22. It’s an (poorly rendered) ornament with holly leaves and berries. We have the same calendar. A more easily identifiable version is on the back of the box!

  23. I think it’s upside down in the pic, and it’s a sack of toys (like Santa’s bag) with a sprig of holly next to it.

  24. It’s unquestionably Santa’s bag (opening vaguely downwards in the picture) — the small shapes are a vague attempt at toy outlines.

  25. There is probably a picture below the mold. Have yet to see a advent calendar like thus that didn’t work like this.

  26. Santa’s earwax people. All advent calendar chocolates are made from Santas earwax. That one is just a sweet reminder of this in case you forget.

  27. it’s the hannukah hand grenade. yaay! (hint: rotate 180 degrees in the direction of your choice.)

    what it’s doing in an advent calendar is anyone’s guess.

  28. I have the same calendar and just opened today’s. Mine looked even worse, but it still resembled mistletoe and berry.

    Squirrel was day one.

  29. An enormous swollen testicle, still living despite severance from its host, being transported through the village in the snow on a spike-tracked death-tank to be interrogated by the clergy with a view to canonization as a modern replacement for Saint Nicholas.

    You have to tilt it to the left.

    1. Silus, I thought you were just making a joke–a Really Funny joke. But as soon as I tilted my head to the right… wham! I saw it! And not just the deathtank and its spiky treads, but the awaiting clergy as well! I will watch, with listing head, for your future comments….

  30. Lest anyone be not aware, today is St. Nicholas day and according to legend Santa is a composite of St. Nicholas. So I’ll go out on a limb and call it Santa and Toy bag on his sleigh.

  31. Rohrschach. Looked at phenomenologically, a simple chocolate mess left too near a heat source. I do not believe it represents anything to do with Christmas, but would suggest a brief plant inspection by the FDA.

  32. Looks like reindeer tracks on the left, and droppings on the right. Whether they are reindeer droppings or Santa droppings is entirely your call.

  33. rotate anti clockwise about 70 dgs and u will see the wings and legs of a turkey surrounded by trimmings

  34. The bulbous part, if upside down, could be a fig with one leaf on its stem. Next to a string of mistletoe? Or benzene?

  35. It is quite clear that it is our lord and savior, the Flying spaghetti monster. His noodly appendage has seen fit to grace us with his, albeit mysterious, appearance.

  36. It’s a upside-down caricature of Jesus with a gigantic nose with a crown of thorns. Now that the savior of mankind has appeared to you ensconced in chocolately goodness, why not flog it on eBay to

  37. Have you slit this open yet? Perhaps it represents the death dance of the cockroach who fell into the chocolate.

  38. rotate 90% anticlockwise and squint your eyes and you seem to have a very crude sack of toys on a sleigh with santa at the helm.

    – Wilko

  39. It’s the Ghost Rider bike Daddy is going to get me for Xmas!!! (You’ll put your eye out kid….)

  40. If you look on the back of the calendar, it looks like it is supposed to be Holly and a berry…I think.

  41. “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” … “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”

  42. The 18-year old slacker they hired to crank out these low-end treats hocked a loogie into the mold before he poured the chocolate.

  43. did you look at the cartoon picture behind the chocolate? does the other calendar have the same piece? what is going on in the part of the picture it came out of?

  44. The choc is the right way up. It’s Futurama’s Leela, hiding behind a large chain. I can’t believe nobody else has recognised it. Christmas must be different in the future.

  45. As a Jew from a small midwestern town, I can assure you that this is most definitely a depiction of my self-esteem come Christmas time.

  46. Mistletoe: Holly & Berry. The weird indentation on the berry is supposed to be a specular highlight.

  47. Bought the same calendar and had the same reaction. Think it is a squirrel. Squirrels seem to be a holiday/winter theme in Europe. Btw my three-year-old launched an early morning raid on the calendar to speed up the X-mas countdown. By the time she was discovered, December 4, 12, 17 and 24 had been compromised.

  48. I’m betting an orc or some other WOW related nasty (cataclysm just came out after all)

    seriously though, bad rendition on some holly and festive stuff

  49. Had to sleep on it but it’s definitely a spray of four holly leaves over a round sleigh bell. The top of the candy is at the bottom-left side in the photo. Pivot it 135 degrees clockwise to see it the right way up.

  50. It’s the squirrel with the head missing–note the hole on the right. Once you re-attach one of your spare chocolate squirrel’s head you’ll be back in business. So to speak.

  51. I believe, if you were to turn it clockwise until the bottom were flat it would be a sleigh with Santa sitting facing the right and big sack of toys in the sleigh behind him.

  52. Yule log. log runs diagonally (lower R to upper L) and flame curls out from it.

    poorly executed but believable, I think.


  53. “Nevertheless, I must warn you that in future you should delete the words ‘crunchy frog’, and replace them with the legend ‘crunchy raw unboned real dead frog’, if you want to avoid prosecution. ”

    Seriously, how is it that nearly 150 comments in an not a single reference to this Monty Python sketch? That’s just sad!

  54. Okay, I confess I didn’t read every comment, but I control-f-ed and didn’t see this.

    Could it be a train w/smoke? The large curly part (currently on the right) is the smoke cloud, with three cars train cars below it (currently a line of square shapes on the left). It looks like the engine car (bottommost) even has smokestacks which the cloud comes out of?


  55. I had the same problem. Look at Santa’s clipboard on back of calendar. It is an orange with holly, maybe. The clipboard has all of the pictures from the chocolate pieces, I think this one was badly mass produced.
    (I didn’t read previous posts so this might be old news.)

  56. No one else sees a face? I think it’s supposed to be mistletoe with a bauble. But it’s also easy to see it as some sort of decayed zombie Scrooge. The bauble is the eye and then there are decayed hollows of flesh along the jawline made of what are supposed to be mistletoe leaves. The cartilage of the nose has rotted and the mouth is open.

  57. To me it looks like a botched image of reindeer and a sleigh going through the night: Going from the top left to bottom left we see some sort of chain-link looking structure, comprised of three “links” (three indentations are clearly visible). The bottom one of these is however wider than the others. Or, if you rotate the image about 90 degrees counterclockwise, it will appear to be TALLER than the other two links. Now, look at the front link…it is obviously unclear, but I can see a protruding snout or nose, with what seems like symmetric flairs going back from the edge of the chocolate. These are antlers and the iconic pulled-back mid-flight legs of the lead reindeer (I guess technically it’s Rudolph, even though there’s only two, max four if you assume depth to this image as well). The second link or reindeer is even more unformed, but I think it kind of mimics the first. The third link is taller and is the sleigh. It appears there is some sort of form on the sleigh, however it is convex and inverted, and must be a result of a poor press by the choco-former 3000. But my guess is that little dimple represents Santa. The bog blob looking thing in the middle is the full moon, illuminating the glory of this work of art. That, or a HUGE sack of toys.

  58. I hav e the same one- the back has a drawing of all the designs (roughly) and I’m sure its the ornament with holly. A good trick is to look in the plastic shell inside the box because it’s always in there so the top is facing up

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