I got a text from Calvin on December 1 and it was one word. “Advent.” I was hoping he would just forget about it this year. Since my boys were toddlers, I’ve done advent stockings for them. Each day, I fill the stocking with a couple of small toys or treats, one for each boy. Fun size candy bars, matchbox cars, little brain-teaser puzzles, Lego mini-figures, and other little things I could find. Both boys have enjoyed it over the years, but it is sacred to Calvin. I was hoping it could slide this year, but when I saw his text, I knew I needed to make it happen whether I felt ready for it or not. If all I did was advent stockings, the tree, and presents, that would be enough for this year.
So, I headed out to the store and picked up some goodies for the “elves” to fill the advent stockings each day. We don’t “do Santa” and never have, but we have talked about the elves filling the stocking with a wink and a smile.
With some small goodies purchased, I looked around our new, unfinished house and felt a little stuck. Where am I going to hang all of these advent stockings? I can picture places that will likely be done next year and then I know where I’ll hang them, but for this year, I just didn’t see an obvious place. I then spotted the plate rack that I used as a towel holder in the half bath in our last house.
Yeah, that could work. I couldn’t help but frown at the wall where I wanted to hang it, though. You can’t see it in the picture, but the wall is coated in wallpaper glue and has pencil markings and even writing in a few spots. It’s smudgy, dingy, and not a place I was planning on hanging anything until it was cleaned, primed, and painted. Oh, who really cares? This isn’t going to be painted before Christmas, so let’s just hang up the plate rack and enjoy it.
Jeff helped me hang the plate rack on the gluey wall behind the kitchen table I started playing. And I really enjoyed it. In fact, I love how it turned out and I’m so glad I just went for it. We’ll take down the plate rack soon to address the walls, but it’s a perfect place for the advent stockings and a few other decorations until then.
This little eating nook isn’t much, but I can envision what a sweet space it’s going to be once we get to work on it. Imagine a built-in bench, 3/4-height wainscoting with a ledge for plates, cups, and small pitchers. I can already picture how much fun it will be to decorate for Christmas. This year is just the preview; the rehearsal in street clothes without the lighting or mics.
Going into this Christmas season felt a little overwhelming. I didn’t think it would be fun at all to decorate a house that we’ve only started working on, but I am enjoying myself and settling into the idea that I’m going to be pushed and stretched a bit creatively. I’m going to have to be okay with things being fine for now and that’s not a bad skill to exercise. There was a season in life when that was all I could do. I didn’t have any money to spend on our 1940s home in PA, so I had to be very inventive, resourceful, and patient.
I find that I usually have my best ideas when I am stretched a little bit beyond what feels comfortable and easy. I wouldn’t put hanging advent stockings on an antique plate rack in the category of my best ideas, but it’s a pretty good one and certainly a solid idea for this year.
The best part is this was created using things I already had. I put it all together in about 30 minutes. You can read about the advent stockings HERE. The plate rack was given to me by a woman at our church in MN who was cleaning out her house, and the antique blue and white plates and mugs are ones I’ve been collecting for years. I picked up a few more plates, bowls, and platters over the summer.
People always ask me about the pattern, but I actually have several patterns by different makers. I just collect this specific pale blue color. I’ll do a post one day sharing all of the patterns in case anyone wants to try to find them.
The advent stockings are hung on the rack using ornaments hooks since that’s what I had on hand and it was simple.
What I love most about the location of the plate rack is that the Christmas tree is just around the corner. When you’re standing in the kitchen, you can enjoy a view of both. It looks very festive and makes me smile. (In the photo below, at the top, just to the left of the center, you can faintly see some handwriting on the wall. The color under the chair rail is wallpaper I need to steam off.)
But, when the photo is cropped, you can’t even see everything that needs to be done. You just see a display of antiques, a touch of Christmas, and little grain sack stockings that need to be filled each day or the elves get in trouble.