Friday, December 07, 2007
Making Christmas: Stockings & Books
As mentioned in earlier comments, our family has a stocking tradition. Grandma Younce made felt stockings for us kids, decorated with appliques, sequins, beads and ribbon. When Tona (our oldest) married Don, he was immediately embraced by our family, and just to prove it Mom made him a stocking so he'd fit in. It was of a skier whooshing down the slope (Don is a big skier.) Since then, each of us girls have made stockings for our husbands and kids as they come along.
Not being as patient, creative or skilled as the rest of the Younces, this was an intimidating task for me, but important for some reason. So I've stuck with the tradition but recruited some help with each one. Mom helped me with the design and materials for Ed's stocking - it's a red-haired shepherd boy sleeping on the ground with sheep, elk, mountains and a bright star in the background. Sorry I don't have a picture. When we get it out of storage I'll post it. Bless Kat's heart, she painstakingly sewed Ed's name on the stocking in thin gold cursive, when I had given up.
I designed and made Hazel's stocking pretty much on my own, but Tona helped with finishing touches - the "icicle" fringe and binding around the top:During Mom's visit in October we bought the materials and designed Ginger's stocking. I delegated the entire fireplace to her, and she did a super duper job. The name, cookies and milk were me. I feel like I've cheated, using iron-on varsity letters for the name, but I couldn't help it, I just wasn't up for more cursive. Over Thanksgiving we put it all together - thanks so much for your help, Mom!
I know this is the tradition, and I do enjoy designing the scenes for stockings, but I've seen so many beautiful stockings in stores lately that I kind of wish I had an excuse to buy them. Since I don't, I feel it is my duty to inform others there is no excuse for ugly or boring stockings!
In our family, stockings are filled with toothbrushes, lip balm, life saver storybooks, safety pins and other small notions, with a clementine in the toe. This year Hazel and Ginger are getting mittens & tights, I don't know what else. I don't feel obligated to fill them up.
What do you have for stockings and what do you put in them? (I need ideas.)
Tona requested a topic on Christmas books. I hadn't thought of it since it's not a big part of our family culture yet, but I would love her list and anything others have to say on this topic. Last year Mom gave us all The Tall Book of Christmas. This was a book from our childhood that I had forgotten about until seeing it again - a flood of memories rushed in, I love that. I guess it was out of print and then came back. And this year I got Hazel a Christmas book called Christmas Eve: The Joy of Giving. It hasn't arrived yet but the reviews were promising, suggesting it has a smooth incorporation of the Nativity and Santa, with catchy rhyming text and a profound message. Hope so.
"Treasures of Christmas" is a homemade book my Mom created when we were very little - a gold spray-painted 3-ring notebook with cardstock pages containing glued-on pictures from Christmas cards and handwritten text of the Christmas story at a young child's level. It was inspired because it has become one of the most beloved Younce Christmas traditions. The original is cherished because the pictures are from 60's and 70's Christmas cards and are so fun to look at. Mom has since made one for all of us, with the same text and gold notebook, but of course different pictures. At the end of the book is our family's Christmas card pictures from every year - those are so great to look at each year and add to.
What are your Christmas book traditions or discoveries?