Gaylen asked for some more information on the Advent stocking, so I thought I'd do a post on it. I can't take credit for the original idea because a friend of mine told me about it years ago and it sounded like fun so I started it with my kids. The concept is just like that of the little Advent calendars we used to get when we were kids, but instead of getting a piece of chocolate every night to mark the days until Christmas comes, I wrap little gifts for each night. Now I try to be highly organized and gather things year round, so it's not OMG! I must buy or make 50 presents all at once! And I do include candy in the mix as well, because getting candy is pleasant too. The gifts range from something highly useful, like new potholders, to a new ornament for the tree, or a can of special cat treats for Lola my grandkitty, to a custom video I make with pictures from the year, or other small things the kids have asked for or need. When they lived close I would include things like a box of a favorite cereal or dish soap...things I know they could use. Living abroad makes it a little trickier as I have to consider size for shipping all these things, but it makes it easier because there are some things from home that they can't get in England. We also have a little fun ourselves hiding things like little rubber snakes in the gifts for an extra SURPRISE!!! Tom really gets into looking for snakes, etc. for the scare factor! Be careful if you start this though because your kids will not want you to stop! The first year I told the kids if they liked it I would do it again if they brought their stockings back. They were back to me before New Years Eve! I told my boss about it and she started it with her grandkids and curses me every year because that is 100 extra presents for her to wrap! I look forward to doing this for Colt, especially when he's old enough to open his own advent presents. Did I mention I love being a Grandma to this special boy???