2022 advent stockings | christmas decorating

by | Dec 6, 2022 | All Things Home, Decorating, Holiday, Winter | 30 comments

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.

grain sack advent stockings | christmas decorating | miss mustard seed

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.

grain sack advent stockings | christmas decorating | miss mustard seed

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.

grain sack advent stockings | christmas decorating | miss mustard seed

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.

grain sack advent stockings | christmas decorating | miss mustard seed

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.)

grain sack advent stockings | christmas decorating | miss mustard seed

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.

grain sack advent stockings | christmas decorating | miss mustard seed

30 Comments

  1. Kimberly Westby

    Ahh, blue and white, even for Christmas, be still my heart.

    • Betsy

      I agree with Kimberly! Blue and white is lovely no matter the season. It looks lovely Marion!

  2. Babs

    Your happy attitude is everything. Loved the action shot of your precious kitty…poetry in motion.

  3. Lee Ann

    This looks perfect. Remember … it’s the journey, not the destination. I wish I could remember the book or article (s) that I’ve read through the years that remind me — if I wait until my house is perfect, I’ll never invite anyone over. My friends come to visit with me, not see a perfect house. Your boys will always remember the stockings, not the wallpaper glue on the wall behind them. Enjoy and relax!

  4. Kim

    Dont miss a moment waiting for perfect. No one wil remember the things that bother you most. I made myself crazy in earlier years trying to get it all perfect. I also made everyone else crazy. Once I learned to relax and just go with it, hoildays were filled with more laughter, joy, and a few dust bunnies. lol No one noticed. They were all too busy making happy memories. Everything you share is lovely and inspiring. Even in the midde of moving chaos.

  5. Janet in Kansas City

    Love it that this is still important to your son, you will miss that one day. They are grown all too soon. And this is encouraging to all those with less than perfect situations in their own homes. And “making do” is really good for us in the long run, there is always much to be thankful for. I think it’s beautiful.

  6. Kim

    Oh, that just looks fantastic!! If I were you, I would consider doing this display from now on, it’s a wonderful creation! I love it when you use things you already have and turn them into something “new” just by putting them together in different ways.

    I can also relate to having a son to whom certain Christmas traditions are sacred. Even though Mom doesn’t always want to carry them out each year, it is a gift of love to my son who treasures these things.

  7. Patricia Smith

    Love it! I am partial to blue and white, too, and I LOVE the stockings!
    Quick question: You mentioned. Doing a 3/4 height wainscoting…does that mean you cannot hang anything on the wall BELOW the top/chair rail? Or can you still hang things on the wainscoting? Curious.

  8. Shawn M Gaines

    I LOVE IT!!

  9. Karen

    Well I think you had a lovely idea. And like many have remarked, the blue and white is superb for Christmas.

    Happy Holidays,
    Karen

    • Michele

      I love this. It’s perfect.?

  10. Sharon

    I saw a cat, so you still have the cats, I was afraid to ask.
    I loved seeing the cat pictures.

  11. Norma

    Love what you do Marian and I love that shade of blue in your china . Is it just light blue or light slate blue?

  12. Connie

    I grew up with an Advent calendar that was made by my Mormor (grandma). Since my mother is from Denmark I have been blessed to enjoy many of the traditions from her home country. The calendar is of dark blue cloth with a crosstitched scene of a Julenisse (Christmas elf) awaiting his porridge and a cat watching in the wings for a little taste. There are 24 little red rings sewn on to which is attached a small gift each day. Like Calvin, this was a very important tradition for me. Even when I was in college, my mom sent along the calendar with all the packages attached. There was a 6 year break in the appearance of the Advent calendar after I got married but it resumed after our oldest daughter was born! Now both my girls look forward to it year after year. It is a lot of work for a parent but sooo worth it! Keep on keeping on, Mama Marion! Your version is beautiful and will provide special memories long after your children become adults.

  13. Irene Kelly

    Just.lovr it especially the story behind ypur instant creation. And I find it interesting how you positioned the plates.leaning toward the front instead if standing up straight as mine are my.platevrack.

  14. Sheran Steading

    It really warmed my heart to read that the Advent tradition was sacred to Calvin. I made an advent wreath out of felted wool when my daughter was very small in the late 1970’s. The wreath and 25 ornaments were embroidered and attached with Velcro. She absolutely loved it, and when our son came along, she was sweet to alternate days with him. Even when they were grown with children of their own, they wanted to see it hung in the kitchen. My youngest grandson has it now and loves it. Children appreciate the simplest of traditions. It’s a good thing.

  15. Cheryl

    Absolutely adorable. What a sweet nook in spite of the flaws you see while the rest of us are only looking at the plate rack and it’s contents..

  16. Kristine

    I love the whole story, I love the action shot of Esme, and I really love all the comments from other readers about traditions honored and treasured. My heart feels full and restored.

  17. Becca

    Oh Marion these posts make me feel so much better! I moved on October 6th and it was a big one. My husband and I downsized after being in a house for over 30 years and honestly it was brutal. Not only hard physically, but emotionally as well. Then we also were in limbo for a few weeks as we also had floors redone. I have all these different feelings and wonder if I’m the only one feeling them and then I read your posts and feel so much better. I feel so displaced and frustrated, yet happy and glad we did what we did!! Thank you for sharing your journey. It makes it so much easier to continue and appreciate mine!

  18. Mary S

    Good decision. Imagine the disappointment if the boys didn’t have
    something that was familiar to them. They won’t mind if the painting
    isn’t finished. What they’ll remember is after the summer and having
    no house, they WILL remember the Advent Stockings! The walls will
    still be there after Christmas. Good job!!

  19. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    Marian, your Advent stockings for your boys look so cute on your plate rack with all those lovely blue and white dishes, the pine sprigs and the dried oranges! You are so creative! So happy that the boys have these Advent stockings to look forward to each day. I know they just love you for doing this for them this year.

    You have done so much in your lovely home in such a short time. Now you can just relax a bit and enjoy this wonderful time of the year with your family. Bless you all!

  20. Claire

    It’s really perfect. And that vintage green light fixture is gold! I hope you offer that up on Facebook marketplace or donate it to an antique store so it can live on.

  21. Rita

    Only you can see the wallpaper glue. This looks lovely, and the boys (Calvin) will remember this first advent in their Maryland home despite all the unfinished work. I’m glad you are giving yourself a little grace and not striving for perfection in every moment. But you usually manage to hit the mark with everything you do.

  22. Julie Olmstead

    It is absolutely lovely. And can I make a plug for the overhead light? While the kitchen may not be the right “spot” for it, there is something charming about it—just a thought.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

  23. Crystal

    Marvelous. Just marvelous!

  24. Nicole

    This advent display is so lovely. And I love how you put forth the effort when it would have been easy to say “We just did a huge move, the advent stockings aren’t happening this year.”

  25. Diane

    I agree, when we are forced to imagine, re-imagine, and re-invent what we have, sometimes that is when and where creativity operates at the highest level!! It’s as if my superpowers kick into gear then and it’s actually quite fun. Enjoy the challenge and embrace the fresh ideas that come. I’m loving everything you’ve done!!

  26. Cheryl

    Looks fantastic and more important is that Calvin will remember you made the effort!

    • Kalily

      ” It’s smudgy, dingy, and not a place I was planning on hanging anything until it was cleaned,” is kind of perfect for Christmas. It is after all the setting of the first Christmas:)

  27. Laureen

    I tend to go Christmas crazy in my home, but our son and his wife and daughters have been living with us since May while they’re waiting on their home to be built. We’re much more cramped for space than normal. I’ve been able to take a step back and embrace the lifestyle that comes with adding a four and seven year old to the house after being empty nesters for 20 years. I’m actually finding I’m more relaxed than in the past. I’ll have to be sure and remember this feeling when Christmas comes around next year and the house is empty.

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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