Everyone on my mom’s side of the family has a homemade stocking. They are made of felt and usually have a snowman with a variety of jaunty hats, vests, buttons, etcetera, and the person’s name in letters along the top. (The exception is the one my aunt made for my grandmother in the 60s which is decorated with many flowers and has the word “PEACE” instead of my grandmother’s name.)
This year, my almost-92-year-old grandmother (Fast Eddy, aka Edna, never to be called “grandma”) made the stocking for my almost-2-year-old daughter. She had some input from me (the usual snowman has a tutu) and some help from my mom (sequins for buttons) and aunt (of the 60s stocking) but mostly it’s her creation and it looks great.
But stocking-making hasn’t always been so straightforward, especially when it comes to inlaws and outlaws (boyfriends, girlfriends, sheep–just kidding!) People don’t always realize that if they’re dating someone in my family and they get a stocking made, they may as well be engaged. On the other hand, if they’re already married and have NOT been made a stocking, they’re either on shaky ground or the person they’ve married has made an unusually bold and rebellious move by not making them a stocking. (Or, it could be one of the guys and he just, um, forgot.)
Sadly there have also been a few mis-made stockings over the years–“outlaws” who received a stocking but never quite made inlaw status. It was always a shock to lose someone once things had gotten serious enough to merit a stocking, but there are a few (now-reformed) heartbreakers in our midst, plus the occasional ingrate who didn’t realize he/she had become “engaged” and casuallly ran off with someone else, so it couldn’t be helped. There were even rumours of name-switchiing a few years back when the boyfriends/girlfriends of certain people had a low survival/fast replacement rate, but I don’t believe it. I’m certain those orphaned stockings were donated to charity or “the needy” or possibly given proper burial, cremation, etc. You don’t get to take your stocking with you, but surely no one would be so cold as to just switch the names out and pass a stocking off as new. Though in hindsight, some of them may have deserved it…
My daughter is crazy about Eddy and I’m thrilled I’ll always be able to tell her about Eddy making her stocking. Hopefully when the tradition passes on to her she’ll be judicious, cautious even, about making stockings for non-family members. And I’m certain she’ll never be so callous as to switch out the names, despite her great promise as a heartbreaker.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!