This is Tim's Christmas stocking. We don't have a fireplace so naturally we don't have a mantel. So I found a way to hang it from our display cabinet in the living room. I always find a way!
My mother's mother, our Nana, made stockings for our kids. She cleverly and patiently knitted each one in red with creamy white toes and heels and a band of white around the top and then in green stitched their name into that top band.
They were the best kind of stockings. First of all, Nana-made. Then of course, since they were knit, they were stretchy. All sorts of odd shapes not only fit into those stockings but the lumps and bumps were delightfully enticing. When the boys came downstairs on Christmas mornings they would always take a moment to feel those curious shapes wonderingly. Then they would begin to remove, one wrapped package at a time, open it, and show me and remark on how "cool" it was, before moving on to the next. Times three. A little chaotic but wonderfully so.
When the boys were middle school age I once asked them, separately, what was the one Christmas tradition that best typtified Christmas for them. What one thing would it just not feel like Christmas without. Was it the tree? The cookies? What part? Interestingly, all three of them, without hesitation, said, the Christmas Stocking.
I saved it for the last beause it's one of my favourite parts of our Christmas Traditions. The part that it would just not feel like Christmas without to me. Christmas stockings! I don't know what it is about them, actually, but empty or full, I just love them. And as much as I adore receiving one, I love giving one even more. .
I love going on the search for those small things that will fit in a stocking and getting creative about it. I try to find things that are specific to that recipient, my stocking are not generic. There are some silly things, some practical things, some fun things and some serious things. Always there is a little candy. Paperback books fit well as do comic books and magazines. Socks are great (especially if they are fun socks) and I think a little stuffed animal peeking out of the top is required, regardless of gender or age. In my daughter-in-laws stockings, I have tucked little jeweled picture frames, nail polish, scented soap and hand lotions. The boys have found DVD's, ties, chapsticks and miniature chess sets. I've put in paper airplane kits, silly putty, scented candles and mittens, cookie cutters, screwdrivers, tape measures and fancy pens. Gift cards fit nicely too.
There is almost no end to the possibilities. I start looking early because you never know what you are going to find, that little perfect something to put inside a Christmas stocking that you just know that person is going to love. And I love everywhere I go. I also never know where I am going to find it. Grocery stores, car washes, drug stores and more. Possibility is everywhere
Of course it is not only acceptable but practically required that there will be a little overage. Once filled I don't put the stocking back on it's hanger. No, it goes under the tree and it leans up against the things that didn't fit. Sometimes the things that didn't fit is because they were too big or not the right shape or I got carried away and found too many perfect things. Not a zillion more things, but a few. And seriously, each of these things is wrapped. They have to be wrapped. Mostly to drag out the anticipation a little more. After all, once the gifts are open, it's over. All the anticipation, all the build up, gone. It should last as long as possible to get the maximum enjoyment out of it. Wrapped gifts force everyone to slow down a little bit.
I do have a liberal attitude about what goes in a stocking, speaking of the excess stocking gifts. But also translating what stocking gift means. There was that one Christmas that Tim and I decided that we were only exchanging stocking gifts, nothing under the tree. Unfortunately, when he came up with this idea, I had already purchased his gift. And it absolutely would no way fit in his stocking. It was a gun safe. A huge one. I knew he would love it and it was perfect for him but I didn't want to be the one to totally defy the rule either. What to do, what to do. Well when the safe arrived in it's enormous box, I had them put it in the garage. I used every single bit of wrapping paper we had, christmas, wedding, birthday, graduation to cover it and then laid his stocking carefully over the top hanging artfully down just a little on one side.
He thought it was hysterical. Afterall, he is the one who usually breaks any Christmas gift dictum. I dont' know why we even make Christmas rules for ourselves but we do. One or the other of us will decide that this year, we aren't spending more than $20 on each other, and make that a rule. We both agree to it and neither of us adheres to it. We are crazy people. We have agreed and stuck to the only exchanging stocking gifts rule for a few years now. It's an easy rule to follow because we both enjoy that part best.
I hope Santa brings each of you a stocking filled to overflowing and plump with packages that are fun and silly and practical and serious and you love every single bit of it.
Wishes to each and every one of you for a Very Merry Christmas!!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.