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Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Vintage Advent Calendar for Sweethearts

Happy December 1st! Are you smiling? I hope so. It seems that everyone in blogland has a beautifully decorated house while my home currently looks like a band of monkeys just got back from vacation.

But glitter makes everything better!

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Every year my children each get an advent calendar. Sweet Boy always tells me that his Lego advent calendar is his best present. I have to agree. Every day he is so excited and gets to create something fun. His enthusiasm is contagious. So much so that last year Mr. Décor said he wished he had an advent calendar.

I wonder if you have a husband like mine? My mister is the type of guy that overall wants very little in the area of material goods. When he does find something he wants or needs he generally buys it for himself right then and there. Now in addition to Christmas, Mr. Décor celebrates his birthday in the month of December. So this tendency… well, it drives me INSANE!
Last summer I was cruising the aisles of Goodwill and found a homemade trinket box. You know, the kind you put thimbles or bells in for display? It was crudely made. I counted the boxes, there were 25.
Right then and there in Goodwill a Christmas miracle occurred in July: I remembered his comment about wanting an advent calendar.
Could this box be transformed? I started with a whole lotta sanding and then 6 coats of spray paint.
Then the box sat there, empty, for several months.
You know why right? The big question was “What do I fill it up with?”

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Now if by chance you have read this blog for the past four years you may recall that photos of Christmas trees past feature pretty white lights and lots of white and cream decorations.
Like this tree topper:

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and these ornaments:

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Every year Mr. Décor says the same thing: He wishes for a Christmas like he had in his childhood~ large colorful lights, tons of Shiney~Brite ornaments, tinsel, plastic….the garish delights of Christmas past.

Two nights ago he announced “I took a poll today at work. I asked everyone if they liked white or colored lights.” (Now if you know Mr. Décor personally, you are smiling because you can totally see him going up to everyone’s desk and asking that question.)
“And?” I asked. He replied, “The women ALL liked white lights. But, big surprise! The men ALL loved colored lights. Of course the sad thing is they haven’t had them in their houses in years.”

That conversation stayed with me.
I began to dig deep into boxes, pulling out tiny trinkets and treasures of Christmas past. Some belonged to Mr. Décor’s mom, some belonged to mine. Others came from my friends Jenny and Meri.

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I listened to Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby. I began to wallpaper the back of the box with vintage themed paper.

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I added glitter and snow wherever I could.

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I placed an elf that had belonged to my mom, Nadine, in the center of the box. He had been rescued out of the toss pile when I helped clean out her house. I was overcome. I too really missed the Christmases of my past.

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Had I been too busy to enjoy the wonder of the season that it took all of the COLOR out of the holiday for me?

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I looked at another elf on the shelf and I think she winked at me.

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Who says “Elf On A Shelf” is just for kids? (Ok, so most of blogland and Pinterest.)
But I wondered, “Couldn’t there be an Elf On The Shelf for adults?”
Now I am not talking about the inappropriate elves that are sweeping through blogland:
More like an elf sitting on a spring of mistletoe who asks “Remember our first kiss? Lets recreate it.”

So everyday through Christmas my sweetheart and I will be enjoying the romantic version of “Elf On A Shelf”. I’ll do a weekly recap of the elves adventures and share the colorful vintage inspired Christmas décor that is going up in our house.

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But today I want to know, “Does your family prefer colorful or white lights?”


Auntie Em said...

Love your shadowbox advent calendar. I knew those little elves were not a new thing but no one else remembered them from their childhood.
I hear your pain in the shopping for DH department. I have given up and now I let him shop for himself.
Can't wait until the monkeys leave my home too so I can decorate. I have construction dust everywhere!
I will be taking some time every day to enjoy your blog though. Love seeing all your ideas and inspiration! Thank you for sharing it. :)

BTW...I like the white lites but I love the multi coloured ones so we put up more than one tree...white for my antique and special ornaments and large vintage lights for my retro and bright coloured bulbs and multi coloured mini on a little tree that changes every year.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh how pretty and such a great post. I love white lights on the tree, colored lights everywhere else and yes I like all the colors on the tree too. Just as old fashioned as you can get. Hugs, Marty

Perfectly Printed said...

This is such a great idea!! Can't wait to see the posts as the month goes on!


Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

Laura I LOVE your advent box! So so fun that all the stuff is vintage!
You can probably guess which color lights I like!! I've always been all about the white lights! It's fun to see other peoples homes decked with color but for my own I always always use white. Now I do think that if you asked my kids they just might say they would like to have some colored lights. They are kind of at the point of liking the opposite of what Mom likes! Although they do say they like most of what I do - they always want to buy every handmade thing I make to sell!!
And I have to mention that I've loved that tree topper since the first day you posted about it! You are so gifted at putting stuff together and making something great :)

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

How sweet is that shadowbox?!?!?! I loveeeeeeeeee it!!! And we prefer colored lights!! Growing up I used to think that I always wanted a themed tree, that was gorgeous and everything matched -- well last year, I realized as I was putting out the ornaments -- I loveeeeeeeeee our mismatched tree!!! Each ornament means something to our family!! From our childhood, to my Mom's handmade ornaments, the ornaments from friends and family, and the ones that we have bought together as a family ... every one of them has a special meaning... and now I LOVE my tree!! No theme for me!! Colored lights and a mis-mash of ornaments!!! :)

Vicki said...

Your shadowboxes are awesome! Your sweetheart advent calendar is sweet! We prefer colored lights but I put up multiple trees and most of them have white lights. The main tree the gifts are under has colored lights.

Linda said...

LOVE those ideas, Laura!! :)

I have mostly white lights, but outdoors we've done a mix and on our tree, I always mix and it gives it a vintage look - mostly white with a mix of various colored lights (and I use some twinkle lights on it as well) Charming.

Love, Linda

ImagiMeri said...

I love all lights equally! I'm so glad you were able to use some of the goodies for this project, and I'm even more tickled that it's for your hubby. My big thing is sleeping with the curtains/blinds open on Christmas Eve to see the Christmas lights on the house......hasn't happened in years, but I still dream about it. Your advent box turned out darling sweet lady.

Love ya'

Vel Criste said...

I wanna take this home!!!!! So pretty Laura! i made my very first advent calendar too! not as pretty as yours, but I think not bad for my first try, will post it sometime next week! ;-)


You are a good wife to make the advent box for your hubby! It is very sweet and colorful!
I LOVE white lights, hubby Loves colored lights!

Lindsay said...

Love this! So darling!

Lady Dorothy said...

Such a great idea! Too late this year, but I might just use this idea in the future! (Advent calendar for Valentine's Day?)

What color of light depends on my theme for the year. Yes, I have changing themes. I throw a big Christmas party for our church and I used to decorate for it with a theme and then rearrange things with all the family things afterwards. Maybe it's laziness, but now the theme just stays. :-)

This year the theme is Birds. I decorated our white tree this year. (I have many types of trees that I have bought at yard sales or on discount over the years.) I wanted red lights on it, but the only red lights in our collection (if that's what you can call that mess of lights in that gigantic cardboard box) had green wire. So, I opted for white lights. But, outside this year, I have colored lights.

All that to say, my preference changes year to year.

Liz said...

I have always liked the white lights. Mainly because the tree looks brighter than with color lights. But the year that my husband and I got married, I decided that if he was going to care enough to participate in the Christmas decorating that I would give him the colored lights that he prefers. I have never regretted it. We do color at our house. Your sweet vintage elves would be right at home here! :)

CeeKay's Elf arrived safe and sound. Thank you! :)


The Boston Lady said...

Laura, we have always had the colored lights and our tree decorations are not very fancy, ones collected over the years and our children's creations. I have not pulled out one Christmas item yet! Aaack! When Orlando Grandma heads back home Tuesday, I hope to put a little Christmas into this place. I love this Mr. Decor Advent calendar. To me the best part of decorating at Christmas is pulling out items that bring back memories. Ann

Lorrie Orr said...

I stopped in the middle of this post and read the conversation between you and Mr. Decor to my husband. His comment, "so, we know who is the bossiest, if all those trees have white lights." It's been an ongoing discussion in our home, too - I like white, he likes colour. And yes, our tree this year will have white lights.

Kit said...

Oh, this is just too wonderful for words! So pretty and you are so clever to use such lovely vintage items. My two grown girls also love an advent calendar and this year I bought the Playschool Forest Animals and Post office for them. They were tickled and will have a fun month arranging all the figures. I love colored lights by the way. I am a color junky! Kit

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Laura, first I have to share that our Misters are very much alike with December birthdays, buying habits, and the general "need of nothing"! Instead of exchanging presents with each other (although we do give our daughter presents) we make donations to favorite charities.

The advent calendar you made for Mr. Decor is going to be cherished for sure. You always put your heart and soul into every project, especially for your family.

That said, we have a new artificial tree that came with colored lights--a replacement for ours lost in our basement flood two years ago.

Gwen said...

I love your Advent shadow box.

And just for the record, my hubby would prefer colored lights as well. But, we have white lights. ;) LOADS of red ornaments of whimsy though.

DebBlee said...

love it - I adore the vintage ornaments!! This year did white twinkling lights along with red and green =)

Redhead Sadie said...

Absolutely wonderful advent calendar, my love!!

you know me, I dig my colors and everything all at once. My dream tree is vintage bubble lights, multicolored mini lights and a million Shiny Brites plus as many other old glass ones that I can get on there. But I do also love the tree I end up doing every year-years and years of Hallmark ornaments given to me since the 70s, ones made by my kids, and other random ones.

But I have always adored the tree from "A Christmas Story" too!!!

I miss you!!! <3

Teresa said...

I don't know ;)... Never asked ahahahahah

I'm kidding - they all LOOOVEEEE whites and agree that colored blinking lights as apealing as they are, can give you a eye tick (I do good work! Took me no time to have them convinced ahahhah)


April Dunlap said...

Oh Laura, I love this. That is the CUTEST little shadow box/advent calendar EVER, and though I love white lights because MY MOM DOES, as a family we prefer the colorful ones! In fact, this year my tree has only white lights, and it looks gorgeous, but I think maybe the kids are wistful.
I do love the kitschy garish old ornaments--they're my absolute favorites!
Happy December!

Shelia said...

Oh, Laura, your shadowbox is so sweet. I too love the olden kinds of Christmas and am trying to do that a little for my little grand baby. I love your little Elf and he looks vintage.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Mary Ellen said...

What a cute way to use a shadow box Laura! Love the darling papers in the background too.

It has been such a relief the past few years since we decided that presents are no longer needed at Christmas time so we can spend the time in thanksgiving and praise on that day for the greatest gift ever given. Gifts is one of my love languages so I thought it would be difficult but you know I really haven't missed them!

bee blessed

oh love last years tree with all your sweet childhood toys too!

Deanna said...

Laura, You've made great use of this box! Cute and looks so vintage. Good job!

I like lights bright AND white.

Carol said...

That is so sweet, Laura. I adore your cute little shadow box. I know The Man would prefer colored lights, but understands why I like the white ones. Other than the lights, I tend to be much more of a traditionalist when it comes to the overall look of our Christmas home. I am all about color and using every single piece of "Christmas past" that we own. The Man really enjoys the rich, warm colors and would not be happy in rooms filled filled with whites, creams & silver.

Auntie Em Stanton said...

What a sweet idea! My husband is the same way with gifts-- I have to listen carefully to catch any hint he gives.

Karen Albert said...

Dear Laura, Leave it to you to create a colorful Advent Shadow Box for Mr Decor. You are the most loving and sentimental friend, wife and Mother!!


Teri said...

This woman can't stand white lights!! I'm 100% in agreement with your Mr.! Give me COLOR!!

April Dunlap said...

I was searching for DIY Lego advent calendar ideas and this picture popped up--so glad to be reminded that I LOVED this idea! Thanks, Laura! Hoping your November is off to a beautiful beginning!