“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there…………”~ C.C. Moore
The stockings in Clement C. Moore’s oft quoted poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” may have been hung by the chimney with care, but mine are hung in my dining room on the east facing window’s white shutters. These are not the stockings that are hung on Christmas Eve, but the ones that each member of my family cherishes.
Mine is red cotton, sewn by my Grandma Crawford. She embroidered my name on it and every year I note that there is a hyphen between Lou and Ann. A hyphen I have never used in recent or distant memory. I check out my birth certificate, and there it is, a hyphen between Lou and Ann. I wonder when it was lost. For all these years I have been spelling my name incorrectly. Alas, I will not be adding the hyphen now, but it does give one pause. Anyway, back to the stocking: it has a sweet fat elephant and fluffy bunny embroidered on it, and a little stain near the toe. I am not sure when the stain first showed itself, but it is now there for eternity.
Next to my red stocking is my husband John’s. It is red too, but of sturdier felt and cut with a pair of pinking shears. There is a white snowman with a green candy cane on the heel and an old fashioned candlestick in yellow near the top. The word NOEL is spelled out in green felt fitted diagonally across the stocking. His does not have his name on it, but it is a remnant of his childhood and one that couples with mine every year.
My sons’ first stockings hang on the window next to ours. Each is from their first Christmas. I know this because they each say “Baby’s First Christmas.” My oldest, Adam’s is made of white felt with a red banner on top. It features a cute panda bear festooned with a red ribbon and holding a traditional candy cane. It is cute as a button. Tyler’s is blue quilted and polka dotted cotton, topped with green trim and a bit of lace. There is a wide-eyed little boy opening a present featured in the middle of the stocking. It is cute as a button too.
It is tradition that these four stockings are lined up on the window shutters. They have hung there each year for about twenty some years. And while we live in this house I do not see the tradition being broken. They are reminders of our younger selves. The innocent selves who never had to ask if Santa was real. The selves that left cookies and milk out for Santa.
My Christmas tree is in what has become its traditional corner. I do not remember when we got it, but I think its carbon footprint has been erased. (It takes 22 years for an artificial tree to earn its environmental keep I learned from a radio program I was listening to while I was decorating). Once again, if I do say so myself, it looks wonderful. It is dripping with decorations that have their own history; draped with stars on a string; lit with multi-colour lights that look like gumdrops; and topped with a gold wicker star affixed with a little sign that says: “Memories are made every Christmas.”
It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house. After a few weeks of no seasonal decorations (I put away my pumpkins and other fall décor a couple of weeks ago), my house has come alive again with colours reserved for only this festive time of year. I love red and green and their Christmas cousins, gold and silver. And I must admit, a few other colours have joined the celebration—making my house a welcome hodge podge of colour with no discernible rhyme or reason.
I have dreamed of a Christmas co-ordinated beautifully with some type of theme: winter white; sparkly silver with accents of blue; and even black and gold. But the decorations I have amassed over the years do not keep to a colour scheme or theme—they are the embodiment of choices made at random and put together each year because memories are more important to me than harmonized decor.
Tradition lives on at my house. Sometimes it changes. Sometimes it doesn’t.