Growing up, the highlight of every year was Christmas. The whole month of December meant parties, decorations, letters sent to Santa Claus, the anticipation of snow, and a much-needed vacation from school. It was the last month of the year, but the best month for so many reasons.
My sister and I would begin our holiday season with the arrival of the annual Sear’s toy catalog. The excitement when our mama would hand over the iconic catalog was worth the one-year wait. She would give each of us a pencil to circle our favorite toys. Of course, we understood that everything we marked would not be under the tree come Christmas morning. But we would dream of which things might. No matter what Santa brought us, we would be overjoyed. Some years would be lighter if money were tight, and some, we would have more under the tree. But I never remember it mattering either way. I only remember loving everything I received and how much fun my sister and me would have.
Another tradition was hanging up our Christmas stockings for Santa to fill with small gifts. It would usually be candy, an apple, an orange, and a few nuts still in the shell. It may seem silly to a kid today, but back in the 60s, those items weren’t available all year round to kids like us. They were treats. Sometimes, there may even be a small toy in our stocking or another small surprise like a necklace or a pack of Old Maid cards. Our mama was very good at gift-giving. She always picked out or told Santa about things we would really want. I don’t remember ever, not even once, being disappointed in anything I received for Christmas.
The very best Christmas stocking was always the forgotten stocking. When we would get so caught up in the opening and playing with our gifts that, we completely forgot about our stockings. Sometimes it would be later in the day, and it would suddenly dawn on us that we hadn’t checked them. Our mama got a kick out of seeing just how long it took us to remember we had stockings too. It would be like Christmas morning all over again.
It’s been many years since I had my own Christmas stocking. I did enjoy filling my three daughters’ stockings every year, though. I tried to make them very special, just as my mama had done mine. I’m pretty sure I succeeded with that task. Wonder what it would be like to wake up on Christmas morning at 60 years old and have a stocking filled by Santa Claus. I imagine I wouldn’t feel 60 at all.
Here’s hoping you have a stocking to check this year. Merry Christmas!