Okay… first, let me thank Kaitlin of Kaitlin’s Cauze for pushing me gently down this road. I am actively chasing a purple hoody that is the prize for her ongoing trivia contest. Her blog is here… Mostly she is all about the in your face Epilepsy Education and Support (and raising money for seizure dogs)… I like her. She is an awesome kid. SOMEDAY I hope to meet her, her mom and her dog Echo. Great people.
Today, Kaitlin’s questions was…
What is the Nobleman legend behind hanging Christmas Stockings by the fire?
Yeah… you’re not going to get that lucky… this post isn’t about THOSE stockings… hey… there is a hoody with MY name on it (actually… one of a pair that I want to get… and if I can get the matching set for half price… it will be a wicked cool after Christmas sale!). This brain dump was spawned by my chasing down the answer and getting lost in the giant rather odd warehouse that is my brain.
This is your last warning… what follows is yet another diatribe that falls out of my head. Leave now or get sucked into the ramblings.
Oh… and for those of you who don’t “do” Christmas but do other holidays… please don’t take offense… this is a brain dump from MY childhood. I grew up in a family that does do Christmas as their winter holiday. I won’t apologize, I won’t try to foist my beliefs off on you (well… not those kinds of beliefs… there are others that I apparently seem to end up very vocal about… but they are usually about love and acceptance and how can that be all that bad). Take it for what it is, or run.
Christmas wasn’t what I always dreamed of when I was a kid. I guess they probably never are when you are living them, but mine really weren’t so much. I do remember getting the trunks out of the basement (cellar… it wasn’t any stretch of the imagination like a basement… it was damp and dark and kind of creepy. Just where you want your holiday decorations hanging out for most of the year)… always right about dark on Christmas Eve.
We will have gone out cutting trees a week or so earlier and gotten completely lost in Ginny’s woods and never found exactly the right tree (usually they are bout 11 feet too tall and have a spot so naked it was made to go against the wall… but duh… how else do you know which side goes to the back…) which spent the week ‘resting’ by the front porch. Don’t ask… I don’t know.
Christmas eve we put the tree in a bucket of coal from the cellar and sat it in the living room away from every window so no one driving by would ever dream we had a tree inside. I don’t know…
Then we would string lights all through the house, plug them in one string at a time and find the burnt out ones in the string so the rest would light. This was before lights were the little twinkle kind. They were big FAT lights that screwed into the string. I never figured out (after I was old enough to understand the science behind the lights) what would have happened if TWO bulbs burned out in the same string and checking each and every bulb would not actually get them to light… but it was what we did. Then we made piles of lights so santa, when he came to decorate the tree, would know where to find them. I was 16 before I ever got to help decorate the tree. So now I over compensate and we put it up either right after Halloween or, like this year, right before.
Then I hung my ‘stocking’ on the doorknob of the upstairs door and went to be. Yeah, we had a bricked in fireplace, gorgeous mantle, too… but there was always something sitting in front of it and stockings went on doorknobs…. I don’t know…
For a couple years I had a real stocking that I remember… the red kind that look like the cliche stocking. For a couple years I had an aunt bea stocking made out of granny squares. Mostly I had one of paps old white work socks. I was never sure why… and I was never happier than when those were the stockings… work socks stretch. A lot.
always in the toe was a navel orange (the FFA sold boxes of fruit for one of their fund raisers). They were the BIG heavy juicy oranges with thick skins that are easy to peel. Not the ones that you stick cloves into… those only really work with the thin skinned ones… but that was always in the toe… with some Hershy’s kisses and candy canes and nuts (ah… those were the years… I always got walnuts. I HATED walnuts. they made me gag. But everyone else liked walnuts so I got a bunch of them… I always got walnut flavored everything… Don’t ask).
In the heel, when there was a heel and they weren’t tube socks, an apple. Never really sure where these came from… FFA was a citrus sale… not apples… but it was there. Red delicious. Not even a kind from the orchard. Orchard apples had character… lumps and bumps… and were yummy. Red delicious was a treat. More nuts and candy… usually a coloring book and crayons.
Stockings on the upstairs door meant that you never ACTUALLY had to set foot in the living room to find out if santa had been there yet… you only had to crack the door open and reach around to feel the sock… or better yet… sometimes it would swing just enough to bump against the door giving it away before you even had to open the door wide enough for the skinny little arms of the youngest.
Later, it was always funny to see that “normal” people poked fun at putting up real socks by flinging around panty hose and tights because they held more (but like I said… work socks DO stretch… so humor starts somewhere). The down side was we never actually found a better way to hook them on the doorknob than OVER the doorknob so half the sock went to that… and poor pap probably ended up with socks that had huge stretched out lumps on one side from having been hung that way.
One year I remember pap taking such pride in one present in the stocking. It was the year he went out shopping and bought me a present all on his own… to help santa out just a little, you know…
It was a yellow curling iron. My first curling iron. Everyone was so determined that I was going to be a girl. Somehow it never took. That curling iron hung in the bathroom for years… I tried sometimes to use it, after I figured it all out. I always ended up with mouse tails at the end of the curls because I never could get the hair in right. I never figured out how to get the curls or flips to go the right way… Been thinking a lot about pap this year… it was maybe not so good to go visit the cemetery when we were home… but it has made me think…
Sometimes you need to think… to remember… to brain dump so it doesn’t all get lost in the fuzzy warehouse that passes for my brain…