Actually the stockings were too heavy and plump to be hung so they sat comfortably on the hearth waiting for the kids to arrive on Christmas Eve.
Stockings have been a cherished family tradition since our four kids were small. We started our own business and money was tight but I loved to watch my little ones get excited over brightly wrapped gifts. So, I gathered lots of fun, small items and wrapped each one individually. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs and brushes, deodorant, breath mints, gum, socks, underwear, cards, kazoos, harmonicas, hand sanitizer, tissue packets, lollipops, whoopee cushions (kids always laugh at anything fart related), chocolates, Pez dispensers, pens, water balloons, bubbles, Post-It notes … anything small, age-appropriate and inanimate that could be wrapped and shoved into their stockings. Every stocking was topped with a Christmas ornament with their name and the year written on it for posterity.
This year I put together 11 stockings. That’s about 100 small objects individually wrapped. That’s a lot of work with no little elves volunteering to help. When I once suggested that we stop with the stockings already, the kids who were young adults by then said they would rather have their Christmas stockings than gifts under the tree. Imagine.
As the children became adults and left home to start their own traditions they took all their accumulated ornaments and their hand-made Christmas stockings. We just received a photo from our daughter Laura who lives across the country taken while putting up our new grandson Louis’ first tree. It was a photo of her ornament from 1983 and she thanked us for starting the tradition that she intends to continue. Now I just buy inexpensive throwaway stockings each year and keep stuffing.
Over the past 25+ years, Christmas stockings became a family joke with everyone wondering what craziness I would find to wrap up in Christmas paper. I think my favorite was when we inherited some old full pelt mink collars and I wrapped one up as a stocking stuffer for one of the boys. When he tore the paper off and the fuzzy ears and beady little eyes peeked out, all four kids (and their dad) shrieked and then screamed with laughter. And that’s how Christmas memories are made!
Merry Christmas and happy, healthy and prosperous new year.