My friend Nuchtchas has been talking about her holiday traditions as part of her audio advent project, and one of her recent topics was stockings. She asked the rest of us to share pictures of our Christmas stockings, but we haven’t even begun to decorate this year. Partly that’s because I’m just not feeling terribly Christmassy, but mostly it’s because we’re waiting til my mother is here with us, so she can participate.
So, the picture I’ve provided is of last year’s Christmas stockings. Two fuzzy stockings we bought at Target several years ago and decorated (badly) ourselves. These are the stockings that Fuzzy and I have used throughout our time in Texas – about fourteen years – but I can’t remember exactly when we got them.
I don’t remember my earliest Christmas stockings. I remember getting gum and small toys, and from about the age of nine on, a small wheel of brie. But I don’t remember the stockings themselves, except that my mother’s first husband’s mother knitted them for the three of us right after mom got married, but misspelled my name, so for years I had a love-hate relationship with it.
More recently, okay, more like ten years ago, we bought three or four stockings at Cracker Barrel when I knew I’d be hosting Christmas for my parents and my aunt. These are brightly colored with penguins, snowmen and a Santa Claus figure on them. These are our guest stockings, the ones we fill for whomever is spending Christmas with us in any given year.
But this year is different.
This year I bought new stockings.
This year, I’m trying to retain our most important family traditions, but alter them enough that the absence of my stepfather isn’t felt so keenly. The penguin stocking was always his when he visited. I can’t bear to see it right now.
Instead, I have three red and white knitted stockings waiting to be hung. They’re all slightly different, but they came in a set, and I think they’ll work nicely.
As for the not-decorating thing… when I was a kid we almost never decorated until around this part of December, after school was out for the holidays. While I have decorated as early as Thanksgiving once in a while, I typically prefer to wait a week or two into the month. We leave our tree and lights up until Epiphany, and I’d get sick of it all if I had it around for five or six weeks instead of two or three.
In the years we went to Mexico, I’d still decorate, partly because we’d be home and entertaining friends for part of the season, and partly because coming home a few days before New Year’s to an undecorated house is pretty depressing.
In Mexico, as I’ve already talked about this year, we also have furry stockings that we decorated on a visit many years ago.
And aside from that, my only real memory of stockings is one time when I was seven or eight that I was delighted by the fact that I had so much stuff in my stocking that it had fallen from where it was hanging. (I’m pretty sure I commented that my mother’s was kind of limp. As kids do.)