This year's revised and most practical (and affordable) version cut out half the month and replacements gifts with notes of small, festive promises.
A dozen little brown bags strung from twine in the dining room to mark the 12 days leading up to Christmas filled with some sweets, gum balls, wood tree decorations, spinning tops, and a few loving "coupons" for things that are already typically part of our traditions. A movie night, a slumber party, frozen yogurt date and a walk down candy cane lane to see the houses lit up at night with hot chocolate in hand.
We've yet to find Burke, our Elf on the Shelf this time around and as much as he's become a cult staple in families around the world during the season, I have to admit I'm kind of enjoying this round without him and the pressures he adds to our days. One less thing I have to worry about. And the kids so far they aren't complaining. Seems this stripped down brown bagged countdown serves as a fair substitute for the anticipation each new bag brings.
One of the notes in one of the bags - the last pick - will direct them to a hunt around the house where they'll find three of these under their bed. Which, for me, is all about my own childhood memories. Hope they love it just the same.