The Symbolism of Stockings

As a nice dovetailing of my past two posts, I’ve been thinking about our Christmas stockings. We hang them up every year, each with our names on them, each decorated on the front with felt shapes representing our character. In our immediate family, mine is the same one my mother made for me as a baby; my husband and kids each have one that I made, and I worked many long hours on them and I’m proud of them.

But as the years wane on, the things on the front represent us less and less. Mine has things on it like a toy duck and a baby plate and spoon, because I was just an infant when it was made. Likewise, I made my own kids’ stockings when they were babies, so they feature some baby things, and other things I guessed at that now definitely don’t fit. For example, Gal Smiley’s stocking has a sparkly purse and matching high heel shoes on it, because she was a girl and I wanted something “girly,” but if you know her, you know that this is absolutely laughable, as she is the least girly girl you will ever meet in your lifetime.

So I have been thinking about setting these stockings aside (in carefully preserved storage), and replacing them with modern versions that represent us more clearly. Here’s what I’d put on my own: a pie, a license plate, some puzzle pieces, a fancy fountain pen and notebook, the CBC logo (the old one with the concentric circles). Maybe if there were room, I’d add a turtle, a teapot and a giant mug of tea, my Sweet Smart business logo and the Jeopardy logo.

Sir Monkeypants would get a snowboard, a chocolate bar, a monkey, a jacket (with toque and mitts), a smartphone, a fancy sports car, maybe a pair of running shoes. Oh, and coffee, definitely coffee, and a beer for a chaser.

Captain Jelly Belly would get skis, a roller coaster (not TOO ambitious or anything), a bike, a train, a monkey, maybe a D+D style dragon, his favourite element of the periodic table (Argon), and Hobbes. Perhaps a giant can of Coke, although then I would have to sigh greatly every time I saw his stocking, which is to no one’s benefit.

Gal Smiley would get a sheep, skis, a plaid shirt and matching baseball hat, a big fat sandwich, a pile of books, a bow and arrow, a VW van, some swim goggles, and maybe her clarinet. Oh, and probably the Instagram logo.

Little Miss Sunshine would get a bear, a bunny, a sparkly sparkly necklace and earrings, a unicorn, a rainbow, something that says summer (flip flops, maybe, or a beach pail and shovel), a cake, bottles of nail polish, and a present (because she loves nothing more than making things for other people). Maybe I’d throw in the Girl Guide logo, and a piano keyboard.

Of course, if I did all this work, and made new stockings and invested hours and hours, I’d probably be unhappy with them and find them out of date again within a few years, especially for the children. And they’d be upset because they are still at the age where YOU CAN’T CHANGE ANYTHING IT’S A TRADITION, which if they follow my path, will take about another thirty to thirty-five years before they move on from that kind of rigidity.

But I do find it fun to dream. What would you put on your own stocking?

2 thoughts on “The Symbolism of Stockings

  1. Oh, fun idea! It would be fun, if a person were REAL CRAFTY, to make the stockings out of feltboard material (like for Sunday School) (is feltboard material just…felt?) and have a bunch of felt shapes that could be put on temporarily to suit whatever the stocking-owner felt like that year.

  2. I have a suggestion of something you could do instead, that’s easier than stockings. So, at the risk of sounding very Bah Humbug, Christmas crackers trouble me. I fear they are hugely symbolic of our wasteful consumer-driven ways that assemble a bunch of things we don’t need or want – most of which seem to be made in places where the workers were likely not paid very well – in a mostly non-recyclable casing (See? Humbug …).

    I do like the idea of the Christmas cracker crowns – it’s funny that everyone has to wear them and they’re quite endearing – however, the crowns enclosed in most crackers are cheap, and thin, and they tear if you have a large head and they’re let’s just say, unattractive, if you have any sweat on your forehead at all from trying to produce a multi-course turkey dinner over a hot stove …

    So – a couple of years ago WE MADE OUR OWN CROWNS! It was so much fun. We used felt, and Christmassy buttons, and the letters you can buy at the fabric store, and – this is the magic ingredient – JINGLE BELLS!

    Now each person in our family has a crown made from the felt colours they chose, with their initial on the front, and whatever decorations they wanted, and oh-so-many jingle bells, and it only took a very short time and extremely minimal sewing (hot glue guns are the bomb for things like this).

    These have become such a tradition that we wore them to decorate the tree this year, and we have inside jokes around them, like making an extra one with “G” on it for any random girlfriends that might be invited for Christmas dinner in the future, but said random girlfriend would only be allowed to wear the “G” crown if we all liked her.

    So, there, I offer you re-usable felt crowns to help the environment and build family traditions. 🙂

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