12 Days of Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (finally.)
Please ignore the breakfast sprawl and glance up on top of the french doors …

I didn’t have my act together enough to do a full advent, but I did manage to pick up these buckets at the dollar section of Target and starting today (until December 24th) my children will find something inside, as part of our new (reinvented) 12 Days of Christmas.

This countdown is not just about getting more stuff.

In fact, the whole idea came together for me last night (literally) when I was reading this article in the New Era (magazine for youth.) And now I’m much more excited to see it through. The article is called Enough Stuff, 5 Tips for Tackling Materialism (click the link for the pdf) and I will take daily messages from it.

Today’s message is this:

We all need stuff—stuff to wear, stuff to eat, stuff for home, stuff for school. And, of course, beyond the necessities there’s also the stuff we want but don’t really need, as well as the stuff we dream about but could never afford. There’s big stuff and little stuff, girl stuff and guy stuff, stuff for work and stuff for play, stuff for now and stuff for later. It seems the world is filled with stuff. If we’re not careful, we can have a hard time seeing past all that stuff. Material possessions (both those we have and those we want) can obstruct our view of who we really are and what life is really about.

Each day, for the next 12 days (until Christmas) you’ll find fun stuff in this little bucket, but you’ll also find scriptures, quotes and challenges that will help you focus less on the stuff and more on those things that fill this holiday with love and light, the warmth of the Spirit, the anticipation of giving and the return of family traditions that have created magical memories for over two decades of togetherness.

I love celebrating Christmas and I love YOU.
Let the countdown begin!

Note: I wish I could have shared this with you as an idea you could prepare and use, but this year I’m feeling lucky to simply report the things I’m doing, since I’m likely doing them just in the  nick of time!


  1. Great idea! That’s something I struggle with every year, especially picking out stocking stuffers. I think, “do they really need more STUFF?”.

  2. Hi Stacy,
    Thanks for sharing! Fun idea. I was just wondering if you place the buckets on the table in the morning and then ‘store’ them up there or what the logistics are. Curiosity killed the cat but I love to hear how people do things like this! LOL

  3. I really needed this and I needed it TODAY! As most people are, we are struggling financially. We are so lucky my husband still has his job and that most of the time it is enough to supplement what I make so that we can make ends meet. But, my 12 yr old is really have a tough time and it’s been hard to get him to uderstand that while he really only wants one thing (a cell phone) that thing will cost us every single month. And we cannot take on another monthly expense. I am definitely going to try this and pray that I am as inspired and clever as you are. Thanks, Stacy!

  4. My husband and I were discussing this year how to get/give less “stuff”. Thank you for the encouragement! :) Also, please don’t worry about doing more for the readers-I’m happy you’re doing what works for you!! :)) Hugs, and keep smiling! :)

  5. This is so timely! Really looking forward to reading the full PDF later today. Also love the glimpse into your adorable house. Love how you are rolling with it–no one says you NEED to have a full advent–what you ARE doing is amazing. We love you, too. :)

  6. What a wonderful idea, and the buckets are so fun! I love reading about what you’re doing, before, during or after! :>) And I love the breakfast sprawl in the photo, obviously an active happy family live there!

  7. LOVE it!!

  8. Stacy – I love any idea that helps take the commercialism out of Christmas. I will file this one away for next year. Hopefully you’ll share more on your blog about what messages go in those buckets (if you have time and it doesn’t detract from family or anything else!) so that we can put it in play next year.

  9. Beautiful Stacy. Thanks for sharing

  10. Live Simply So Other May Simply Live – Mother Teresa. This is a quote I want to start living for and eliminate all the stuff. My niece is in Guyana South America on a mission trip and sent me a drawing of this quote. I framed it and is on the wall in my entryway. Stuff just adds more stress – Happy Day ~Ann

  11. I love this! And you found the perfect little spot for it in your house too! ;-)

  12. Great idea and the buckets are in a great place! They look colorful above the french doors.

  13. Thanks for sharing! I just want to say that seeing a house that is “lived in” makes my heart sing!!

  14. This is such a great idea!!!! I love the idea of not getting more “stuff”. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Love this! Thanks for sharing~

  16. I scaled back on the amount of stuff the girls are getting for Christmas. They have so much and are in school all day and then would watch tv all night, if I’d let them. So how much stuff do they need?!
    No more posting cute things from Target – we don’t have it here in Canada :( Those buckets are just tooooo cute!

    • And only a $1!!!!! You TOTALLY need to make a trip South-of-the-Boarder!
      (Sadly, this fun stuff isn’t on their website. We actually have to drive around from Target to Target to amass any kind of collection.)

  17. Love this and love the message, so true! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Thank you for sharing this in “real” time! I appreciate the thought and willingness to take time out of your schedule to inspire others.

  19. Thanks for taking the time to post the article. I am struggling with my 3 year old right now who seems to think Santa is bringing EVERYTHING on his list…which is anything and everything he can think of, sees on tv or in the ads he pours over multiple times a day. I purposely avoided doing an advent calender because of not wanting to make a bigger production of gifts and/or treats.

  20. Barb in AK says:

    Thanks for sharing, Stacy. Don’t worry about “doing” something for us. It’s just such a joy to be able to read your blog :-)

  21. I do this, too!!!! And it’s SO FUN!

    I fill my gift bags with activities to keep the kids busy each day. Activity books, coloring books/pages, craft projects, cookie decorating supplies, movies, music, sticker scenes…whatever I can find that’s Christmasy (and thank HEAVEN for the Oriental Trading Co.). Oh…and every other day is a treat (candy cane, chocolate santa, new Pez dispenser…holiday themed, of course!).

    So, it’s like the thrill of getting a present but without getting/giving more STUFF!
    When they are older and can read, I’ll add quotes and inspirational sayings or challenges. GREAT IDEA!

    Thanks for the artical reference!

  22. What a wonderful idea? My kids are still little and definitely in “stuff” mode. I can’t imagine what teenagers must be like! :-)

  23. BTW…no one notices the breakfast remains…they’re too busy looking at that STINKIN’ CUTE CHRISTMAS TREE!!!! All white and bright and colorful. FUN!

  24. Fantastic message! Thank you for the link.

    Your advent pails are so cute! Great idea.

  25. Thank you for sharing! Love the glimpses of your house. And remember, he is called St. NICK for a reason!

    If people are looking for quick advent calendar ideas, I did a round up on my blog: http://www.layoutaday.com/easy-advent-calendar-ideas/


  26. Karen Schmidt says:

    Love it Stacy. I will have to read it later and put it into play next year. I love your ideas especially when they hit you at the last minute.

  27. Love this idea! The “stuff” idea is churning around in my brain and it’s so true! Love that your buckets are filled with scriptures and quotes as well as some fun stuff! You rock! I’m sitting here with a stuffy head, runny nose and a little man (grandson) with the same plus a cough. Thanks for brightening my day!

  28. Great “stuff”—thanks for sharing

  29. Stacy!
    This is totally doable for any of us! We have an advent calender that is easy to make and can easily incorperate this idea. I’ll add a link to a photo of it or my blog when I get home from work.
    Thank you so much for sharing your insperation. I cried as I read partly because I envy the fact tha you actually have some Christmas up and partly becuase I felt the twinge on needing to do this.
    Again Thank you!

    • OK So I can’t find the pics of my advent calender and it isn’t out yet. Soo….I’ll post when I dig it out. If I dig it out!?! Still using the idea~I already put my daily thoughts and scriptures together so I might as well use um.
      Merry HoHoHo To You!

  30. what a great idea! so cute and so wonderful that it focuses on the non material as well!

  31. Love this Stacy!! Great message to share with our children in today’s day and age! I am so with you on getting things together just for our family! My tree sits half decorated, with all the ornament boxes in the living room. I feel that I am half decorated/ready for the holidays…no bit of Christmas cheer in our family room downstairs yet. But, you know what, it’s not worth pushing myself. I, like you have taken a step back and am not trying to do “everything”.

    Keep “you”, your family, and God in the forefront of your life, and everything else will fall in place.

    hugs for being “real”.

  32. What a wonderful idea!

  33. Peggy Leland says:

    going to link this in my evernote file for next year. Great idea.

  34. A comment to your note at the end. Good for you! We shouldn´t put more into christmas than whats good for us. If we can´t do everything it really doesn´t matter, there will always be a new christmas coming, and if it shouldn´t, well then I don´t think we will care anyway. And I think that our families will enjoy a happy mother much more than all the things we do to make it a wonderful time. Take care of your selves, all ye women out there!

  35. Stacy,

    It is funny but as I talk to more and more people this year they are not doing all the stuff. We only put up our tree this year because my husband is busy with work and school so there was no time where we could squeeze in outside lights so instead of doing it and arguing the whole time we decided it was ok to just decorate our tree this year. We go out of town to visit family anyway, so the kids were ok with that. I am to tired of doing everything and then feeling so tired that I don’t enjoy the season like it is suppose to be enjoyed.

    Keep up the great work with scaling back and a good nap at 2 or 3 in the afternoon never hurt anyone but sure helps save my kids.

    Have a Happy Holiday,

  36. Jeanne Ann says:

    The article you quoted hit home for me. I find myself scaling back on most everything but the basics as I just don’t feel the need to have more “stuff” in my life. My family and I have been packing up “stuff” for months in preparation for a future move and so I have really taken a hard look at what “stuff” we have. Boxes stacked in every room and we still live day to day without missing anything (I admit I miss my scrapbooking “stuff” a little). This year for Christmas we are only asking for things we can truly use in our lives right now, not “stuff” we think we can’t live without. I honestly haven’t been able to come up with anything and I am fine with that.

    You and your family are what is most important so enjoy this time without the worry of what you may not be getting done. We learn lessons from eachother in this regards. Merry Christmas to you all Stacy!

  37. Sad as it is, it’s a little refreshing to hear that someone I know, admire, and love is barely on top of things this Christmas season too! It just snuck up on me. Way to go in getting your house decorated. Love the advent buckets…that I CAN do. I was worried about the treat thing between 7 children. Thank you :)

  38. carol in seattle :) says:

    I loved that article! I even read it twice – which I hardly ever do! Thanks so much for sharing….I love your great ideas!

  39. Stacy, your new office looks FABULOUS. I love all the exterior windows as well as the glass in and around the doors that allow you to be inside with the door closed and still keep an eye on the busiest part of the house. It looks like it’s decorated with your usual flair. I hope you’ll do a blog post with lots of photos soon.

  40. We do something similar to this. We have an activity for each day and a few treats and fun “stuff” spread out through out the 25 day and not everyday. We have also set limits on how many presents we will buy this year and every year from now on. I think it helps us focus on what really important this time of year.

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