Christmas Stockings

My Mom made our Christmas stockings. The only picture I have of them is in my mind, but many years later I tried to make something similar. I think my mother’s were much more artfully done, much more attractive, and I don’t remember them getting all dirty, the way ours did. The similarities are the white cuff with our names hand embroidered, a variety of small-print calico fabrics, and a simple type of piecing/quilting.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, when my sisters and I awoke well before the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, we were allowed to go downstairs and open our stockings. Nothing else until our parents got up. So the the stockings were a real treat!

orangeLike many people I’ve spoken to about it, our Christmas stockings contained some items that could be counted on, and others that were complete surprises. Always in the toe was a navel orange. Although we did have oranges other times, fresh fruit wasn’t always on hand (Mom was big on canned fruit, in heavy syrup, of course), and the Christmas oranges were always big and yummy.

torronetorroneThere would also be a few little boxes of torrone, an Italian nougat candy. I think Mom took care to see that we all got one of each of the flavors (vanilla, lemon, and orange, if I recall). The candy was delicious, and Christmas was the only time we had it, so I did love it. I also thought those little boxes were adorable, and sometimes kept them for a while, although I don’t remember finding a use of them.

toothbrushThere was only one more thing that was always in our stockings – a toothbrush. Ever practical, Mom thought it made great sense to give us a new toothbrush each year, and it fit so well in a stocking — why not?

In addition to those givens, there was always other little things, depending on our ages and interests, but always small, low-cost items. Some were wrapped, but most were not. It was likely we’d get a cute pencil or two, maybe a Christmas eraser, and surely something to read or do – a comic book, a puzzle, a coloring book, you name it. If there was a “real” gift that was small (like a bracelet), it wasn’t put in the stocking, but was wrapped under the tree. That way Mom & Dad were sure to see us open it.

When I started filling Christmas stockings for my children, I retained the orange tradition, and the toothbrush. Living in a rural area, I couldn’t find torrone, so hubby and I decided to make substitutions for our own traditions. There’s always wrapped chocolates (they’ve gotten fewer in number and better in quality as the years have passed), usually nuts (in the shell), and always a comic book, magazine, or book. Always little, junky toys of some sort. My stocking has always included some kind of dried fruit, usually apricots ‘cuz my family knows I really love them.

My kids never had the same rule as me about being able to open their stockings before I was up. Why? They couldn’t get up without me hearing them and getting up, too. I was always at least as eager for Christmas morning to arrive as they were. Russell took a few minutes longer to roll around, and I always got his coffee started as soon as I got out of bed, but he was quickly right behind us. So we both usually saw the kids get their stocking down and open, too.

Your turn – what’s in your Christmas stocking, or what do you wish you’d find there?
Congrats to Margaret, who won the December contest with her stories about her brother’s much loved Erector set and her own toothy Christmas doll. She’ll get the Victorian ornament in the next day or two.

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