Friday, December 19, 2008

The great Christmas stocking debate

OK, here's the question of the day: Is the Christmas stocking important or irrelevant? This debate rages at our house each Christmas season. For me, the Christmas stocking is key when it comes to under-the-tree goodies. For Dennis, it's completely unnecessary and incomprehensible. He says he didn't get a Christmas stocking as a child, which I think might qualify as child abuse in some states. I, on the other hand, continue to get a stocking from my dad and step-mom. Granted, it doesn't come in an actual stocking anymore; it's in a Christmas gift bag. But my dad always hands it to me and says, "And here's your stocking."

In my family, the stocking was critical Christmas booty. It wasn't filled with extravagant gifts but that didn't take away from the excitement. Sure, you'd get toothpaste and lip balm and a new hairbrush. But you also might find a little gem in between all the practical flotsam and jetsam -- a candle, scented bath soaps, a little piece of costume jewelry, or, better than anything else, some little trinket that didn't require a lot of cash but did require a lot of thought. The stocking is where creative givers can really shine.

So, this year, in deference to a simpler Christmas and to Dennis' family non-tradition, Dennis and I are not going to exchange stockings. I will see how I fare without one. I don't think I'm going to like it one bit, and I have a sneaking suspicion that in a few weeks or months, when Dennis is looking for shaving cream or razors or Goo Gone or some new little gadget -- like the meat tenderizer he got in his stocking last year -- he, too, will come to appreciate the significance of the stocking.

I will, of course, continue to give the children Christmas stockings. They can decide once they are adults whether they believe in a stockingless Christmas or one filled to overflowing with all sorts of little doodads and goodies.

So what's the concensus at your house: Thumbs up or thumbs down to the beloved Christmas stocking?


Anonymous said...

Thumbs up - we always get socks in our stockings. Practical as well as fun socks. The kids also get little dollar store type items that they enjoy! My husband has to work hard at getting me a few things for my stocking because he knows, like you, I would be saddened not to have one! Keep up the stocking tradition!

Anonymous said...

We have a similar debate in our house. My mother will not get the stockings out the closet and my brother or I will go find them on Xmas eve to have them hanging by the fireplace, even if empty. My grandmother had knitted our stockings. I think it is more symbolic of the memories from childhood as we'd always open our stockings first. Like you said, you never knew what small things would be in them and they were usually "cheaper" but held just as much meaning. So I say thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

Oh, definitely thumbs up! In my house you shop for stockings year round! Last summer while in Maine I picked up Lobster soap for Mom's stocking! My memory is of the stocking on our bed Christmas morning; we'd leave it on the fireplace before going to bed (no mantle) and in the morning that's what my sisters and I opened in bed before waking Mom and Dad. To this day I still mail things to my sister in Colorado marked "stocking". Dennis is going to wonder where that extra "stuff" is!

Grace said...

YES on stockings!!
I never had a stocking at Christmas when I was a kid (or as an adult either, for that matter!) - and I wanted one SOOOO badly! One year I even told my mom that that's ALL i wanted for Christmas, was a stocking . . . but still no go.
I STILL want a Christmas stocking . . .