Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our Stocking Advent

I love, love, love advents.
I love them as decorations, I love the daily reminder to read scriptures of Christ during the holiday season, I love getting little pieces of candy, I love the expectation and excitement of remembering them.
They just amp up Christmas.

If I said that I started planning this advent in July, that would be a lie. Let's just say that I've been thinking about since at least last Christmas. And as my knitting abilities improved, my desire to knit an adorable advent increased.
I'll include some more info and links throughout this post, but the pattern to knit these easy, awesome, extremely forgivable stockings is free on Little Cotton Rabbits {here}. I seriously loved making them. Even making 24.
So, here's way more information on making these than you could possibly want:

Making the Stockings:
I started knitting these stockings in July or August. Not just because I was anxious for the heat to subside and for it to be Christmas, but also because I knew I'd need a long time to knit them.
I am a mediocre knitter at best, and only half-way understand patterns (Google taught me everything besides the basic knit-stitch). For the first few stockings, each one took a couple days of figuring, knitting, unknitting, and reknitting. By the fourth or fifth one, however, I had gotten it down and could knit one in just 2-3 hours.

That seems like a long time, but if we watched a movie in the evening, I could easily start and almost finish a stocking. The only thing that was hard was paying attention to the design, and if the stocking was plain or striped, then I didn't need to think about that either.
I usually get bored knitting after a while, and leave things in the middle of being finished and these were the perfect size that I could finish it without getting bored, and each one was different and often an experiment so they were fun to knit.
I actually never even finished! I only have 22 done! Someday I'll finish them, but right now I've moved on to new crafts and am in more of a sewing mood, than a knitting mood.
I knit them with number 5 size needles, and regular, cheap Lion yarn. The gauge is different than pattern, but they just turned out a little bigger, but still proportional. Each stocking is about 6 inches long, although they seem much smaller than that, because it's at a slant. (The top to the heel is about 4-4.5 inches long.)

Inside our Stockings:
I started by finding about 20 scriptures about Christ or his birth. The majority of the scriptures are prophecies about his birth, and towards the end they include the actual tale of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the wee King of Kings.
Lots of advents I've seen just have a verse or two per day, but I really like reading the actual stories and backgrounds from each scripture, so many of ours are longer - even chapters.
I also included a couple other things, like talks or videos about The Savior - I'll link to all of them. The verses are from the Holy Bible, as well as from the The Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Christ and holds many stories and prophecies of Christ. If you don't have a Book of Mormon, but would like one {click here}, or you can read the stories I link to below.

{Read the Book of Mormon online}
{Read the Bible online}
{The Living Christ}
{The Tabernacle Choir & David Archuleta: A Wondrous Christmas} 
{Video: The Christmas Devotional}
{Video: Christ's Birth}
{Because He Came: a talk by Thomas S. Monson}

I wrote the scriptures on popsicle sticks, which I had dipped into cheap acrylic paint. To dry them, I filled a deep, wide bowl with rice and stuck the sticks in it, paint up. Because of that, there are drips on some and they're all uneven and wonky. But I don't mind.

Candy and treats:
Some of the stockings (but not all) will include candy. I haven't put any candy into them in advance. I just slip it in the night before, so my kids don't eat it all at once! Mostly, I think it will just be mini-candy canes.
The boys get to take out the candy and scripture stick. They get to hold their candy until we're done reading, and then if they're good, they can eat it. Yep. Before breakfast.
I also wrapped about a dozen Christmas books, and some times instead of candy they get a little tag that means they get to each unwrap a Christmas book! Then we read them together.

They're not new (in fact, everything that wasn't a hand-me-down I bought via Thriftbooks or garage sales), and I will use them throughout the years, probably adding to the collection as they grow. It's just fun to unwrap presents! And books seem new if you haven't seen them for over a year.
(If you don't buy kids' books from yet, start! Sometimes they're a little abused, but my kids will abuse books anyway, so I'm happy to buy a three dollar book I don't feel guilty letting them have. Also, no shipping fee, ever.):
Some of our favorites above are:
The Polar Express
Santa Mouse
The Christmas Story
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I also wrote out a list of activities to include in some the stockings, but haven't figured out how to go about including them. Since my kids can't read, I've just been announcing it. "Oh, today we're going to read from Isaiah and later we'll make Christmas cookies!"
Any suggestions? I think if I write them on popsicle sticks (for example), I'll slip them in the night before with the candy. Just because it's hard to know at the beginning of the month which days we'll want to watch a Christmas movie, or have enough snow to go sledding with Daddy.

Displaying the Stockings:
I had a hard time figuring out how to hang these, but ended up just sewing some thick, canvas-y fabric into a band and pinning it to the wall. I used regular ol' clothes pins to hang them, but might come up with something cuter someday.

What do you think? What are your favorite Christmas traditions?
Do you have any children's books to add to our stack? I'd love it to grow. Christmas books are my favorite.

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Heidi said...

I love the idea of wrapping the books. I've been collecting Christmas books for a few years but haven't started wrapping them yet - hopefully next year! This is one of my favorite books, it's short and sweet. It makes me tear up every single time.

Unknown said...

Jan Brett books! With trolls!

Nicole said...

I love the stockings hung with plain ol' clothes pins

Aimee @ Like Mother Like Daughter said...

I love how this turned out so much! I stitched the numbers onto all the little pockets for my advent calendar, but thats as far as I got. I guess I should work on it again so that I can atleast have it done for next year!