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"And the Stockings Were Hung...

"And the Stockings Were Hung...

…by the chimney with care.” From the classic Christmas poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, which was first published in 1823, this staple of holiday celebration still carries on to this day. As with many things old and dear, stockings of our childhood were not lavish things. Often they were made from hand; sewn or knitted by our mothers and grandmothers and sometimes handed down from generations before. 



As tradition holds, Santa would fill the stockings as he crept around the fireplace, with simple goodies that weren’t always available on a daily basis. Sweets, marbles, oranges and the like were often the surprise children found early on Christmas morn. 



I personally remember my stocking always having an orange in the bottom, a small bag of chocolates, some things I needed, like socks and a new toothbrush (not sure how Santa knew that!) and topped off with a candy cane. It was nothing expensive but we had just as much fun opening our stocking, which we got to do BEFORE breakfast, as we did opening the gifts under the tree (for which we had to wait until we’d had the appropriate nourishment before opening.) 


I’ve seen stocking gifts get more creative, and more elaborate over the years. I’ve also seen the tradition of stockings taken over by that infamous “Elf on the Shelf.” But to me the stockings, whether “hung by the chimney with care” or temporarily taped to a window sill as ours were, hold a nostalgia that can’t be replaced. If you have a child, or know a “child-at-heart”, consider creating a Christmas stocking for him or her this season. Even in this crazy economy, you can still fill a stocking relatively inexpensively and the smile you’ll put on their face is priceless! 

Shelley Nicholson

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