Written by Cari Moore – Coordinator of Volunteers and Administration
When I was a little girl – our favorite thing to do on Christmas morning was to open our stockings. They were the only things we could open before my parents were up. Getting up before them was very rare as my mother was always like a kid in a candy shop on Christmas morning. Banging about and putting the Turkey on in the kitchen with about as much noise as she could make. She came from a relatively large, but poor family that never had enough money at Christmas for stockings, so she was most excited to see how happy we would be. Our stockings always had the orange in the toe, some gold chocolate candy, and our own little individual bottles of shampoo and cream rinse. To this day Finesse Shampoo® still smells like Christmas to me. My favorite year was when my sister and I made mini stockings for my parents out of felt and filled them with skinny things like pens, nail clippers and candy canes. My mother was so excited – this was her first stocking ever!
When I got married and moved away from home, our first Christmas we were broke, so we decided to just “do stockings”. I went out and purchased the largest stockings I could find! (kind of defeating the purpose.) We also started a tradition of wrapping the items in our stockings so that we would have things to unwrap on Christmas morning. When we eventually had children, I lovingly hand made them both stockings, an Angel for my daughter and a Santa for my son. Some years their stockings would be filled with dollar store items and other years more expensive things, but always socks and underwear, somehow that became a rule. Our family tradition of stockings has now been passed down to my daughter and her husband as this year they will be opening their stockings together, for the first time as a married couple.
With my new job at the museum, I was very curious about the origins of stockings, so I investigated it. Wikipedia states stockings are a tradition that began in a European country, in which children simply used one of their everyday socks, but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose. These stockings were traditionally used on Saint Nicholas Day but in the early 1800s, they also came to be used on Christmas Eve. Wherever they started, in my family, stockings are here to stay. I look forward to filling all our stockings every year and I am often on the lookout for fun quirky things to wrap up and put in. This year I will be doing some of my shopping at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives gift shop, we have a great assortment of very cute, traditional old-fashioned toys that will be perfect!