Who came up with the Christmas stocking?
I’m under the impression it was a resident of Sombertown, as a result of the Burgermeister Meisterburger’s ban on toys in “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” But since that TV special came out in 1970, might be someone else.
And why is it that who exactly fills the stocking varies from house to house? At some houses, it’s Santa; at others it’s parents. And for a few, it’s the Elf – who’s come off the Shelf – with a few last parting gifts before he flies off to join the Tooth Fairy for a peppermint latte.
The stocking is like the Christmas sweater for your foot. My childhood stocking was knitted, had a picture of Santa on it, with real fur for a beard, and a jingle bell sewn into the big toe. My sisters and I took turns wearing each other’s stockings so we could have a pair.
And it had my name on it. Which reminded me of every Christmas I’d ever had with it.
And so when I had my own family, I had one made for all four of us, even our cat. But then we had to give away our cat. Now every time I pull out her stocking, it reminds me of every Christmas I’ve ever had with her. Which makes me depressed.
Maybe what happened was the stocking didn’t come with instructions. So folks figured you don’t wear it, because it didn’t come with a match. And it’s cross-stitched, monogrammed and has an enormous amount of glitter. So it’s not like when you lose a stocking in the dryer and you just find another one that’s closest to the color.
So they hung it in the living room, jazzed up the fireplace and gave Santa something to laugh his head off at when he’s crawling out of the fireplace.
I guess when Santa ran out of room under the tree, he just stuffed the rest in the hosiery hanging across the mantel. That’s probably it.
What’s in it is pretty random. Anything goes when it comes to the stocking stuffer.
At our house, I’ve seen everything from Serengeti sunglasses, to a mechanical pencil. One year I got an iPod shuffle. And the next – Kleenex.
My favorite is when I get a pair of those socks with the toes – such an in-your-face to the whole single stocking thing.
I can tell you one thing you DON’T want in it. And that’s chocolate. At least not when you’ve got a fire going.
But no matter whoever came up with it, or whoever fills it, with whatever they put in it, everyone should have a stocking. And so I’m passing my cat’s stocking on to the rightful owner.
It’s tradition, after all.