From Pipi’s Pasture: Stuffing the Christmas stockings
When my siblings and I were children, we hung our stockings on Christmas Eve, part of our Christmas Eve ritual. By Christmas morning, Santa had filled them with little toys, candy (I can’t remember exactly what they were) and an orange or apple. The orange was a real treat, indeed, because fresh fruit was scarce in the winter. (I think the oranges came from Uncle Albert’s Hamilton Store, because he also ordered them for the treat bags that we received at the Morapos School Christmas Program each year.)
Anyway, when my sisters and brother were older, we got the idea to fill our parents’ stockings. When we hung up our stockings, Mom and Dad did, too. I can remember that Dad always chose one of Mom’s nylon stockings as his Christmas stocking — a lot to fill up.
Years passed, my sisters and I married and we had kids who hung up their stockings each year. Then one year, I don’t remember how the idea came about, my sisters, brother and I decided it might be fun to draw names for stockings. The idea was to fill a stocking for the name drawn. There were rules, too.
First, all of the stockings were identical, so some weren’t bigger than others. Items had to be small enough to fit inside the stockings — nothing could hang over the top. The stockings were to be saved and refilled the next year. But, over the years — although we still draw for stockings — some of the rules have been forgotten.
The original stockings have been lost. The replacements are of every size and design. Items still fit inside the stockings, but barely. Some of them are so heavy that all efforts are made to delivering them in person instead of relying on the mail. And, over the years, my sisters and I have added our husbands’ names to the stocking list. Some of my sisters’ children joined in the fun, too.
Stocking stuffing is a big tradition in my family, as well. From the time our sons, Jody and Jamie, were small, they have always had Christmas stockings. Guess what? They still do, too. So do their wives and children. No drawing names; Santa and Mrs. Santa fill their socks — year after year. We fill more than 10 stockings each season! This year, two of them are on their way to Alaska.
Filling the stockings takes some planning. Otherwise, it becomes too overwhelming. So, I watch for sales. For example, back-to-school specials provide the opportunity to buy lots of items for our teacher daughter-in-law. We also set aside special photos and other mementos from that year, when possible. Stocking stuffers are fun, but useful.
Each family has its own traditions. What matters is that family members do them together and with love. Happy holidays!