I guess it is as good a time as any to write about Christmas. My first memory of the big day was a Christmas eve when we were visiting my mother’s parents… my grand parents. I did not see them often. They died when I was about 7 or 8 and we usually saw them in the summer at “the farm” outside of the town of Erie PA. But we were there one Christmas and Santa Claus came to the house to give us presents that evening. The usual routine was to have the gifts in the morning, so that in itself, was memorable. It wasn’t until years later that I realized Santa was my grandfather.
A second memory was when I was a little older. We had hung the stockings “with care” someplace because we did not have a fire place in the house. I might add, that the stockings we hung through the years were old and ragged nylon stockings my mother saved for this event. They were huge when they were filled. It was, in this particular memory, that I woke up suddenly very early in the morning and was sure everyone had gone ahead with opening stockings without waking me up. I ran down the stairs crying. Momie stopped me on the stairs to ask what was the matter and assured me it was way too early and to go back to sleep. They would never begin opening stockings without me there.
Packages would arrive from various members of the family in the weeks before the big day. We were told we could sniff, but we could not pick up, shake or rattle the boxes. My sister and I would sit on the floor and smell the boxes. I can’t say it was useful, but we did imagine all sorts of good things in those packages.
Christmas continued through the years and finally I had my own family and Christmas eve would find me filling the stockings and making sure we had a happy day. It was also the time of year all of my children were born. We were married three days after Christmas and the following Christmas we had a baby girl born by the end of November to make up our family. She was not old enough to enjoy Christmas but she had a stocking hung near by, carefully knitted and with her name on it for the Big Day. A year later Bill arrived, and once again I went to the hospital with yarn and needles to knit his stocking. Two years later another, and then two after that another. Whew. I could hardly keep up with the knitted stockings.
When we lived in Virginia Aunt Lucy was our guest for the day and she loved to see the kids and their happiness. One event I do recall was the year Lucy brought a wrapped package for Sia, age two. It was a neat plastic box and inside some toy high heel shoes. Lucy laughed when the box was more fun than the shoes.
Over the years I have knit stockings for the grandchildren and re-knit a tattered one for Amelia. Last year we hung them all on our mantle. It was crowded. This year there will be fewer hung there. My first grandchild has complained, just a little, that her stocking is the smallest… and it is. The small stocking didn’t stop the over load piled under hers . So this year, finally, I have put her name on a bigger one.
Now the kids are grown and Santa has assigned stocking filling to someone else. I sent a message to the two married grandchildren who will be here for the day: “You are in charge of each others stockings now.” The time had come. Their parents are relieved of this responsibility. Welcome to the adult world. I was delighted to learn that one couple had a “shop for stocking-stuff at Target” day. What fun. I hope this grand child knows that her stocking is bigger and her husband may have to shop some more.