A Christmas without stockings would be the worst Christmas ever.
It would be sadder even than Scrooge’s Christmas future without Tiny Tim.
Luckily, I don’t have to face that tragedy, because my sisters and I keep the Christmas stocking tradition alive.
An abundance of treasure in a sweat sock
Mom kept it simple. She understood that it didn’t matter so much what the stockings contained. It was more about the fun of discovery as we drew out each item.
Nothing about the stockings was extravagant, because we lived on a tight budget. In fact, when we were very young Mom didn’t even bother with store-bought stockings. Instead, she simply used Daddy’s white sweat socks.
On Christmas morning, after we had opened our other gifts, we dove into the stockings.
We never up-ended them and dumped out the contents. That would be cheating. We pulled out the gifts one at a time, pacing ourselves, none of us wanting to finish first.
There were foil-wrapped chocolates, candy canes, yoyos and little puzzles, nuts in the shell, and at the very bottom an orange, which filled out the toe of the stocking.
While we were engrossed in playing with toys and sneaking chocolates, Mom made breakfast.
Indulging in simple luxuries
Today my sisters and I delight in surprising each other and Mom with goodies we aren’t likely to buy for ourselves:
- Shortbread made with real butter.
- Chocolate truffles.
- Warm, fuzzy socks.
We also aim to make each other laugh. We seek out silly ornaments for the tree, refrigerator magnets with sarcastic slogans (Anne Taintor is a favorite), and gag gifts like those candy containers that dispense chocolate reindeer poop. (Yes, it’s disgusting — that’s the point!)
Recapturing childish glee
The greatest thing about Christmas stockings is that they allow my sisters and I to be kids again. To play, to tease, to eat too much candy, and to laugh until, red-faced and breathless, we collapse in a merry heap on the floor. Even in those years when we can’t celebrate together, we’re connected by this tradition.
I don’t remember a specific gift from my childhood, but I do remember the stockings.
Stuffed with everyday treasures, they were the best part of Christmas morning.
They still are today.
What about you? What holiday traditions from your childhood do you still enjoy?
P.S. Don’t tell my sisters, but this year they can expect to see this in their stockings!