Personal Relics: The Christmas Stocking

My sainted mother knew how to sew. She knew how to do needlepoint, crewel, embroidery, and other things. She even had a little business hosting Creative Circle parties, shilling and selling their craft kits.

But when it came time to tart up our Christmas stockings, she went with some green iron on letters she probably bought at the flea market on the hill above our trailer park.

They’ve faded on one side over the years as they hung on the paneling of the trailer or to the right of the sofa in the living room down the gravel road. She made one for my brother and one for herself, the three of us against the world. When I got to high school, we got into the habit of actually putting things in the stockings. It’s a tradition that continues to this day, as I fill my wife and children’s stockings with gift cards and candy and little gifts on Christmas Eve.

I’m not sure when I took possession of it, either. It might have been after my mother passed away. I’ve never hung it by a chimney with care, either; by the time I lived places with actual chimneys, my mother-in-law, who is more crafty than sewy, created some felt and bangled stockings for the whole family. So these are hung by our chimney with care to be filled on Christmas Eve.

So I hang the old stocking in my office, generally taping it onto the Arkanoid video game and rehanging it often as it peels off.

It’s not the only Christmas decoration that reminds me of my mother and my youth, but it does often as it falls to the floor again..

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