Somewhere online I found a pattern for simple pouches. (It's been 2 years, I can't remember where!) A quick trip to Joann's for various Christmas fabrics and I was cutting pieces like a maniac. That kicked off the Great Pocket Making Endeavor. Followed by the Great Button Hole Endeavor. And then the Great Button Sewing On Endeavor. I recruited a child to help me pick out the buttons for each pocket, and she also drew and cut out the numbers for me while I sewed like a maniac. We started sewing the numbers on, then discovered craft glue.
The first year I was finishing pockets the night before I needed them, so there was no thought to the display.
The next year I rigged a rather "special" hanging method involving ribbon and cording. I'm very glad I couldn't find a picture, it was pretty sad.
This year I had a goal, make something 'better' to display them. I picked up some inexpensive fabric that I thought might match, mostly, and used some of my Black Friday flannel from last year (I just bought the bolts, didn't want to stand in TWO lines!) as a stand in for batting. A little experimenting with layout and math, then I came up with a way to attach them. I didn't have time to do binding (waited until November 30th to finally get around to it!), so I decided to do the sew and flip method to make it a closed edge. Adding ribbon loops to the top let me slide a dowel in, and it looks a little better this year! Maybe next year I'll even pretty up the pole or something... one step at a time!
The only thing left is to fill the pockets. For the first week, I put in candy (one piece per child), but now I need to step it up a notch. I have a Lego kit (is it mean to put only a few pieces in each pocket?), squinkies (also known as 'squishies' in our house), and just need to pick up some earrings for my oldest. I like to get the packs of 12 from Claire's and cut them apart so that covers several days! In previous years I put mini ornaments in the pockets, and let the kids put them on the big tree. Maybe this year I'll remember to pick up a mini tree on clearance for next year... maybe.