Her mother loved Christmas too. She decorated every room. The little girl, her brother and sister had little tinsel trees in their rooms. Her mother made each child a stocking.
When the little girl was about five or so, her mother decided she needed a bigger stocking to put Barbie clothes in (so she said!) It had an elf on it, among other decorations and the little girl's name.
As time went on, every year, the mother would hang the stockings by the chimney with care. No matter where she lived, she always hung her three children's stockings. Hanging stockings was a big tradition in the little girl's family as was leaving cookies and brandy by the fireplace. Yes, I know, it's more traditional to leave milk and cookies.
But her dad had said, "Santa is going to need some brandy? It's damn cold out there all night long, delivering presents!"
When the older daughter got married, her mother gave her stockings to hang. When her son got married, she gave him stockings.
The years came and went and as life went on, traditions faded. People left, sometimes forever. No more caroling or singing by the piano or games to play. But, the stockings and their tradition valiantly hung in there.
When the little girl's mom went on to her next Big Adventure in heaven, the children found their stockings among their mother's things. The son's was red with his name in glitter, the older daughter's was green with her name in glitter and the youngest one's still had her name in felt and the elf on it. She couldn't take it with her so one her siblings said they'd keep it safe.
Years passed but somehow in the mist of time, moving here and there, the little girl's stocking got lost. No one knew where it was any more. Maybe it faded away or deteriorated. It just disappeared.
The little girl, now a woman grown in her 40s, did mourn the stocking and its tradition. She mentioned it to her new boyfriend, her friend, Debbie and her family. In vain, her family searched again through their things for the missing stocking.
The woman grown sighed, "I guess it's a part of growing up. It's just a thing. Things aren't that important. Stockings really ARE for kids. I just kind of miss my stocking. It's silly, I know. I guess I need to get over it. "
Ah but for those who believe, the magical Christmas spirit of giving and tradition was in force! Her niece decided to buy her aunt a beautiful stocking for Christmas. The woman was so grateful that her niece bought her that stocking for Christmas. She treasures it still!
Her friend, Debbie, a clever, creative seamstress plied her needle and thread to make the woman-now-grown a hand-made stocking. She plotted with the woman's new boyfriend to get that stocking to his house in time for Christmas.
He drove, like Santa himself, for over forty miles, through a blinding snowstorm, slipping and sliding in his less-than-trusty Mustang to get the stocking.
You know, she ended up marrying that fellow. so true-blue. She has never forgotten seeing the home-made stocking hanging from his mantle that Christmas Eve and weeping tears of joy and gratitude.
She never has forgotten the kindness of a friend and how her knight-in-shining-armor in a beat-up old Mustang brought a uniquely hand-made stocking back into her life.
No one is too old to be touched by the charity, love and magic of the season. The woman grown still believes.
©2013 Mia Hess