Dec. 12, 2021: And the Stockings were Hung....
I love decorating for Christmas! With dozens of bins filled with decorations and multiple trees to decorate with thousands of ornaments, by the time I am done, every nook and cranny of my house is decked out in holiday cheer.
Decorating is a full day ordeal for me. Yes, the older I have gotten, the longer it seems to take, but it is a labor of love. Putting out beloved pieces or reflecting on the origin of each ornament is like a reunion with a life-long friend. The familiarity of these decorations provides comfort in a changing and challenging world. The constancy of these decorations grounds me in tradition and family.
However, one of the Christmas displays that changes from year to year is the stockings.
According to history.com: This tradition can be traced to legends about Saint Nicholas. One legend tells of three poor sisters who could not marry because they had no money for a dowry. To save them from being sold by their father, St. Nick left each of the three sisters gifts of gold coins. One went down the chimney and landed in a pair of shoes that had been left on the hearth. Another went into a window and into a pair of stockings left hanging by the fire to dry.
Whatever the origin of this tradition, filling stockings is one of my most favorite traditions. They are always hung on the main bookshelf in my main living area. Yes, I have a fireplace, but I much prefer seeing them on the bookshelves. That never changes. The number of stockings I hang every year though, does change. It all depends on who will be with us during the holidays that year.
Of course I have the constants- my husband, my dad and step-mom, my daughter and son-in-law, and my granddaughters. But each year there are others who may be joining us. Naturally, they must also have a stocking.
The stockings are never thrown away, so my bin of stockings is chock-full. The monograms or names remind me of whose stocking it is, or who it could belong to this year.
This year there are 15 stockings adorning the bookshelves. It is a beautiful visual of the family members who will be gathering here this year. Nieces, nephews, cousins, siblings, and their children. Some will be traveling thousands of miles. Some, we have not seen in-person in years.
But each one will have a stocking to unpack on Christmas morning. Filled with little treasures, goodies, ornaments, soaps, scarves, trinkets, and sweets. Things I collect all year long, sometimes with a specific person in mind, sometimes knowing I will find the perfect someone for it when the time comes.
May your stockings be filled with all that brings you joy!