Friday, December 4, 2009


There's been some discussion on Rav about stockings lately. What do you put in them? When do you stop giving them? And that's got me thinking about the subject.

First of all, I never realized that for some folks, stockings are for kids. Why shouldn't an adult get a stocking? Where else are you going to put the little things, so that they don't get lost? In my family the stocking is also used for the small necessities. A new toothbrush. Toothpaste. Once we got old enough to need it, deodorant. Razors. It's a family tradition to find stuff like that in the stocking, and I'm pretty sure my brother and I would both be sorely disappointed to not find a toothbrush in our stocking Christmas morning, even though we're adults and perfectly capable of buying one for ourselves.

This is the second year in a row that I've had Christmas at my apartment in Houston rather than traveling to Massachusetts to my parents' house. Last year I unselfconsciously bought those little things that I needed- thermometer covers for one- wrapped them, and stuck them in my own stocking to be opened again on Christmas morning. Goofy? Well, yes, a little. But it made me happy. This year I'm shopping not only for my own stocking but also my parents' stockings since they are coming down here for Christmas. This year I'm a little more aware of the oddness of doing this. Will it upset my mother to see me unwrap the thermometer covers I bought myself and put in my own stocking? Possibly. Not because her daughter is buying gifts for herself, wrapping them, and then giving them to herself (after all, Mom did this for herself for years, wrapping her own toothbrushes and whatnot), but because they will be a reminder that I'm not healthy, and I need those things. But this is my reality. Might as well face it and wring whatever joy I can out of it. And for me, one of those new joys is unwrapping thermometer covers from my stocking Christmas morning.

And it's been unexpected fun to shop for Mom and Dad's stockings this year. I thought I was done with Christmas shopping the day before Thanksgiving, but I had totally forgotten the stocking stuffers. After a quick trip to the dollar store and Target there are toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste for all. I'm running low on band aids, so I'll be getting a box of those in my stocking, too. I was hoping for a roll of Lifesavers for each stocking, but Target didn't carry them. (Well, that's not strictly true. They had those Lifesaver storybook things for $2.99 a pop, but I'm not paying three bucks each for a roll of Lifesavers and a bunch of extra packaging I don't need.) The only place I've routinely seen Lifesavers in the last 10 years is the airport, and I'm not fighting the airport insanity just for a stocking stuffer. I'll keep looking. Maybe at Walgreens or somewhere like that? I have to admit, I don't look too closely at the candy aisle these days.

There are other things that often go in my parents' stockings. For Mom, it's hand cream and pantyhose. But I feel a little awkward getting her those things. It's kind of a joke between her and Dad, one I suspect I don't know the true story to, so I think I'll leave that to them.

I've also made some hand knit ornaments for them that I plan to wrap and put in their stockings. I know they'll get a kick out of those. But that seems awfully thin. Toothbrush, toothpaste, ornament. Lifesavers (if I can find them), orange in the toe, candy cane hooked over the top. Can anyone think of any other fun, useful, inexpensive items to drop in their stockings?

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