In my attempts to catch up on the reading of my friends blogs, I noticed that two of them had written recent entries about 'stockings'. One was a guy who spoke of his childhood stocking and what was placed, traditionally, in his stocking each year. The other entry was written about her family tradition of the stockings, and the story went from her childhood when her mother filled her childhood stocking, through to the time when the roles were reversed. Those stories took me back across the years to my childhood.
Growing up, we didn't have a fireplace. We hung our stockings, as kids, against the console TV. Of course, when they were filled by the jolly old elf, they were too heavy to hang, and were placed on the floor in front of the TV set. What was inside of that faded red, cotton knee sock with the cable design? Inexpensive toys, a favorite candy, an orange or tangerine, or an apple, mixed nuts. Someone else always got the Brazil nuts because I didn't like them back then. We kids might have been given those, rather than Dad, because Dad was allergic to them! When I say 'inexpensive toys', I mean those wooden paddles with the elastic string with a rubber ball on it (remember those?) or one of those clowns that were attached to a 'frame' with string. When you squeezed the little sticks at the bottom of the frame, the strings would relax and tighten, and the clown would dance. Then there was the small cup on the stick, with a ball at the end of the string...to try to catch with the cup. There were coloring books, paint boxes, crayons, yoyos, magnets, and oh...one of my favorites....a face on a card, encased in clear plastic. Within the plastic, there were metal shavings which you were to drag around with a magnetized pencil, leaving hair or eyebrows or beards on the face. (Did others of you have those things?)
I don't know what happened to my stocking, but I guess it was left behind when I left home. When my kids were little, I made all of us quilted stockings that were larger than what I'd had. It was easier to place gifts into the larger ones, but it also presented the challenge of finding enough inexpensive things to put into them! Somehow we managed to fill them each year!
As I grew to an adult, I became a part of the tradition of the elder family members. Each adult woman draws a name, and fills the stocking of the one whose name she drew. We still carry on that tradition today, Mom, my daughters and I do. We try very hard to fill the 'Christmas sock' with unique items, as well as new things that might have been used up from last years offerings....ie samples of toothpaste or emory boards. We tend to think about the hobbies of the one we have, and look for things that would interest them. Readers might get a small paperback, those who sew might see sewing supplies. Photographers might find a little picture frame. I think it is a true challenge to fill those stockings. I always add some little thing to the young ones' stockings, and fill one for my husband. I look forward to the fun of seeing what's inside those small wrapped gifts.
I still have those stockings that I made for my kids, because they all have their own for their families. None of us use them anymore, but they are there, if they have want their childhood stocking. As for Mike and me, we currently use the counted cross-stitched ones that my daughter made for us some years ago. I guess it doesn't really matter what the container is.... it's the content that matters, and that's not the wrapped gifts, or the fruit or sweets. It's the sweet fruit of love that is offered with the filling of those stockings at Christmastime...and all year long.