The woman sniffed in disdain. “You’re looking for a Christmas stocking kit now! Why there’s nothing left. We put them on the shelves in August and they sold out weeks ago.”
Last year I was in a craft shop looking for a Christmas stocking kit in late November. I was determined to make a stocking for my grandson for his first Christmas. The woman in the store seemed shocked I had left the project so long. My naivety in the world of arts and crafts was clearly evident.
Given the sales clerk’s attitude I didn’t bother explaining buying a kit to make a stocking was my back-up plan. I’d actually wanted to knit a stocking for my grandson but after many months of trying to learn more than a basic stitch I decided it was time to abandon my needles and look for an alternate way to make the stocking
We always hung stockings when I was a child. Old photos show my siblings and I fastening our stockings to the fireplace mantle. We put them up on Christmas Eve knowing that by Christmas morning Santa would have come down the chimney and filled them with all kinds of presents.
The stocking tradition came from my mother. Her family home in Drake Saskatchewan didn’t have a fireplace but she and her siblings hung their stockings around the edges of a table in their parlor. Christmas morning they would find candy, oranges, dolls or the latest Bobbsey Twins book in their stocking.
My mother designed and created stockings for my sons for their first Christmas and I was determined to follow in that tradition by making my grandson a stocking too. But here it was late November and the craft store was sold out of stocking kits. What to do? I looked on Amazon and sure enough they had stocking kits and could ship one within the week.
My excitement when the stocking kit arrived with the UPS man quickly turned to panic. I looked in dismay at all those pieces of felt, bits of bric brac and thread.
Where to start? I decided to contact my friend Debbie who is the most artistic and crafty person I know. Thankfully she took pity on me- in fact she seemed more than eager to be my stocking assistant. Debbie helped me make a beautiful stocking for my grandson- well truth be told- I helped her make the stocking. With Debbie’s expertise the stocking turned out even better than I’d hoped.
There are various stories about how Christmas stockings started. It could have come from a European tradition of children leaving carrots and straw in their shoes for the horse Santa Claus rode. Santa took the food for his horse and replaced it with gifts. Later stockings were substituted for shoes. Another legend is about a poor man who was worried his three daughters wouldn’t find husbands because he couldn’t afford dowries for them. He was sure their lack of a spouse would force them into prostitution to support themselves after he died. St. Nick hearing of his plight put gold in his daughter’s stockings on Christmas Eve. The girls had hung their stockings by the fireplace to dry over night.
Whatever the source of the stocking tradition I’m glad my mother made it an important part of our family’s Christmas celebrations for two generations. I’m also thankful to my generous friend Debbie who helped me insure that a third generation of our family could be part of the stocking tradition too.
Other posts about Christmas…….