It’s that time of year again. Shopping, baking, planning, rushing, visiting, creating. Something different to each of us. I am finally becoming at peace with this time of year. Depression doesn’t rear it’s ugly head as badly. In fact, I might even be looking forward to it a little. Since becoming a mother I was the first one up. Waking the kids in my excitement to see them open their gifts. To spend the day making a delicious meal. To visit with my siblings.
When I was little we had different ways to celebrate over the years. We camped in a teepee in the forest. We used a long spider plant for a tree. We had a real tree decorated with strings of popcorn and yarn. We again camped in a teepee in the forest. ( see photos from the last Christmas campout )We even spent it in a hotel while we shopped for our years’ supply of clothing from a Thrift store. Knives, Pear soap, and wool socks were sure gifts we knew were coming. Nothing extravagant. No cookies for Santa as he was make-believe since I was born.
One year we had stockings. Dad had a stocking bigger than I was. Since he joked about everyone getting coal it was decided he deserved coal for being greedy with a stocking big enough for a person. A dozen boxes were wrapped and placed inside one another until the last little box which contained a nice lump of coal. That was a fun Christmas morning.
After fourteen I don’t really recall Christmas. Not that I recall previous ones. I think I went home to mother for a couple, another with a family who took me in, a few I was alone. The ever-present underlying depression and discomfort of the season as I didn’t really belong to anyone. I hope I have managed to hide that from my children giving them a warm sense of family, of love. Time spent together. Time to think of, to help others if we can.
I don’t recall stockings. I think an orange, a giant stick of a candy cane, was stuffed in a sock. I can’t really be sure. Even that is a glimmer of a thought, not a memory. I have no one to ask if it’s true. If we even had stockings.
So now I prepare for the season. The house all colorful and bright. A welcoming holiday feeling inside and out. The tree, tall and erect minus the usual side lilt is topped with an angel. Santa hits the roof so he has been demoted to a table ornament. To tell the truth when I bought the Santa’s and Angel all I had no idea they were to be on top of a tree. I didn’t know that hollow dunce cap shaped ornaments meant tree toppers. I have a few to choose from thanks to that information being unknown. Just like how I didn’t know the plastic is to come off the lampshade once you bring it home! There are decorations on each available space. The jolly singing and dancing stuffies that made my children laugh. Now my grandson laughs and pushes their buttons. The cupboards and freezer stuffed with food.
I think I may finally have figured the stocking stuffing out. It has haunted me for many a season. Specialty soap, deodorant, girlie face stuff or hair things, magazine or book, chocolate and or candy. Then I heard a brilliant way to stuff them. With nuts that need cracking, oranges, chocolates, and a penny novel. You are set to nibble and snack with a book while waiting for dinner or bedtime. Maybe next year the stockings will be full of nuts!
What do you put in your stockings? Does your family have a favorite tradition?