the first year that mr. happy stuff and i were married, i sewed 24 of these little felt mini-stockings and we each filled 12 for the other person to celebrate the 12 days of christmas. we carried on the tradition for about 3 years before it fell by the wayside amidst the hustle and bustle of visiting family over the holidays. this year, i got them out to do an advent calendar for the happy baby. i thought a long time about what i wanted to put in the stockings. not bad chocolate. not plastic trinkets. needed to be small enough to fit…. in the end, i decided on a mix of three different ideas. the first idea is that i wanted a way to use the advent calendar to talk about the nativity story, so i looked for a 25-piece nativity scene small enough to fit in the stockings and kid-friendly enough that he could play with the pieces if he wanted to. most of the ready-made ones were pretty pricey or pretty ugly or too much of a choking hazard. i was attracted to the idea of felt finger puppets for each character, but thought that sounded like way too much work in a busy season. then i found this free downloadable version. the artwork is super cute, but tp tubes are too big to fit in these stockings (and i don’t have 13 lying around). so, i’ve been altering the art one piece at a time (sometimes just shrinking it, sometimes also drawing the “back” side so that they look like this:
the original artist would not give me permission to publish the art in the altered form, but if you’re interested, leave a comment and maybe i can e-mail you a copy when i’m all done? so… each day we open a stocking and it has a new piece to add to the nativity scene and sometimes a bible verse to go along with the characters we’re adding that day. on some days, there’s also a slip of paper with an activity (inspired by Elsie marley’s list) or a note to “read a christmas book” inspired by the popular blog idea i first read about here, but have now seen all over the place. i’ll write more tomorrow about my own spin on the christmas book tradition. i gotta go change someone’s stinky pants.