As I mentioned in my last entry, one of the things that makes me happy is filling the Christmas stockings for my kids each year. I have been very fortunate that I have always been with my parents and my children at Christmas every year but one. Sometimes it has been a quick turn around trip but we always seem to be able to work things out. (It helps that the kids' dad's family do their big celebrating on Christmas Eve.)
And now, when my children are 25 and 28, I still make certain they get a specially filled stocking from Santa. In the toe of the stocking is an orange followed by a handful of nuts (in their shells of course). This is a tradition that has continued for four generations. Next I add Hershey's Kisses in the green, red and silver wrappers which have been a tradition for three generations. Absolutely nothing tastes better on Christmas morning when you are opening gifts than that simple bit of chocolate!
After the traditions, I am challenged to be as creative as possible and get as much as I can stuffed into the remaining space. My daughter typically gets a piece of jewelry and my son gets something with an Aggie theme (Texas A&M). There are giftcards from their favorite fast food places, a small book (usually with a religious theme), some form of music, the latest cleaning gadget (the Mr Clean Eraser is this years' pick), something different they would not buy themselves (like citrus flavored toothpaste), a Chick Fil A calendar and a funny stuffed critter coming out the top. I have been known to throw in staples they could use when they were in college, like makeup, contact solution, stamps and vitamins. If I go down the aisles of WalMart in the two weeks prior to Christmas, you can bet I will save my purchases for gifts. That is why I gave the kids batteries one year for their portable CD players. (I don't think they have recovered from that bit of creativity!!)
I have also given them talking picture frames, freeze dried food for camping and disposable cameras. They complained about the calendar so that's history and I have promised my son I will no longer buy Aggie crafts. Not sure why but he did not appreciate the Aggie flashlight I bought one year that was a stick with a match glued on the end. It even had spare batteries (box of matches) glued to the side. He did like the special pen I purchased made from the wood of a tree cut the year the Aggie bonfire fell. That was his sophomore year and it was an especially sentimental gift since he lost two friends in the accident. I am so pleased when I find something special like that!!
The Christmas stocking is also the place where I can place an heirloom being handed down. Like the pair of special scissors I gave my daughter that belonged to her great-grandmother.
You might think these are very large stockings but they aren't. I made them myself and they are 8" wide at the top and about 12 - 15" deep to the heel. My parents have no fireplace so the stockings always "sit" in a chair next to the tree. The calendar use to be what I used to give the stocking some body and keep it from flopping over. Hmmm ... not sure what I'll use this year. Maybe just more nuts!!
7 hours ago