Today’s all-day rain gives me a brief respite from walkin’ my socks off to reach my goal. But, I managed to get 12 miles/19 kilometers done over the weekend – 8 miles/12 kilometers more to get ‘er done and reach my goal. Yesterday the wind was very blustery, and, just like one day earlier in the week, the winds were calm when I left the house, but kicked up mightily just a half-hour after I arrived. The weatherman also promised a sunny Sunday – I was outside over three hours and the sun must’ve slept in.
I’ve been thinking about Christmas stockings since deciding on this title for today’s post. Over the years, Christmas stockings have played a big part in the holiday ambiance for me …
… Like having a Christmas stocking when I was a little nipper.
On Christmas Eve, I dutifully left my stocking next to Santa’s milk and cookies so he wouldn’t forget to fill it (hint, hint). My parents loaded it up with goodies to keep me occupied so they could sleep in on Christmas morning, and, after I was sound asleep with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, the sock would magically appear at the end of my bed. I was told (warned) that when I woke up, to just get my sock and let Mommy and Daddy sleep in since it was a holiday. I always got an orange and an apple in the toe and only on Christmas, Easter and Halloween did my parents allow hard candy, so I could always count on a candy cane and perhaps a Pez dispenser and candy for inside it. I always got some chocolate wrapped in gold foil that looked like gold coins. Chocolate was the exception as to candy – I don’t know why that was?
My parents never knew my grandmother had a stash of Laura Secord “humbugs”, those yummy brown-striped hard candies, that she always kept in a little tin in her apron pocket. Sometimes she had a crinkly cellophane bag of peppermint balls that looked like mothballs – she would tell me to go outside to eat it as it smelled so strong and you couldn’t bite it, but had to wait for the candy ball to dissolve and “we don’t want to give away our secret, right?” The stocking candy was a treat because our Christmas candy set out in dishes around the living room had no appeal to steal one or two. Those hard candies were shaped like presents and had gooey stuff inside them … now if they had been Smarties (like American M&Ms) … well they would have been worth swiping.
Since the orange and apple were boring, they would be put aside, so I’d hone in on the treats and explore my sock. There would be crayons and a coloring book, maybe a jar of bubble soap and a bubble wand, or jacks, or a Slinky, even some Silly Putty to make stretchy faces out of my favorite comic-book characters in the funny papers …
… and, when I was really young, there were always a Golden Book or two.
My favorite stocking stuffers were new Barbie clothes, either bought at the store, or outfits that my mom would knit while I was at school. Here is a photo of Mom and me posing on Christmas Day when I got my first Barbie and a case for her clothes and accessories. (Please no comments on my hairdo which looked like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket because my mom made me sleep on pincurls on Christmas Eve – ugh.) I’d say this photo was taken around 1963.
Life sure was fun back in the day. I don’t know why I still don’t have that Christmas stocking, because I’ve hung onto many treasures from my childhood. I’m a “saver” not a “thrower” so that is why when folks say “do you use a treadmill all Winter?” my answer is “I’d love one, but where would I put it?”
The socks of Christmas Past.
When I decided to incorporate some memories about Christmas stockings into this “Still walkin’ my socks off …” miles-tally post, I actually went downstairs to root around in a few of the red Rubbermaid tubs with green lids where Christmas decorations we gathered through the years are stored; these festive-looking tubs have remained unopened for ten years. I knew I had saved some felt stockings and sure enough I had.
In fact, there was a treasure trove of red-felt Christmas stockings – some were brand new.
I saved stockings from work as well (pictured above and below). I always made up socks with little gifts for my bosses through the years. I filled those Christmas stockings with fun little things I’d pick up for a song and some goodies as well. I found one for both Robb and me downstairs.
My boss usually sends me pictures of how he decorates the office since he took over that chore after I stopped working on site in 2009. I packed away some of the socks with our office Christmas decorations. So, he hangs one sock outside my office door …
… and another paired up with his in the lobby.
Spreading cheer, whether chocolates or cookies, was something I did for all the holidays at work when we still worked at the Firm prior to leaving on our own on January 31, 2003. My mom and I used to make up something fun for the staff members on all the holidays and Christmas was no exception. Usually it was a big gingerbread man in a bag with curling ribbon and a Christmas message, but several times we made up these mini stockings.
I had to use initials as some names were too long to fit up top. I’d decorate all the socks over Thanksgiving, in between decorating here at home. I’d have socks laying all over the floor while the glitter dried, then we stuffed them with chocolates and a mini candy cane. I always had to have extra socks on hand in case someone quit, or got sick, and a temp came in their place. That happened a few times. Then, two days before Christmas, I would arrive earlier than usual and creep around, leaving treats or stockings at each desk before anyone arrived. One year I did a poem modeled after “The Night Before Christmas” using all the names of the staff personnel. This was before we had internet access at work, so I had to go buy the book, as I did not remember the whole poem, having not heard it since I was very young. I typed it up and xeroxed it onto Christmas paper.
Thanks to the rain I had a walking respite, so I could finish this longish post I started last night. Onward and upward for finishing up, but for now, perhaps I’ll play with this Silly Putty that beckoned me to buy it at Meijer a few weeks ago before I have to start work. 🙂
P.S. – Don’t forget to hang up your sock!!!