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?