The Strict Ritual of Stockings

One of Kev’s family traditions that we’ve adopted and do at home too, is stockings. The stockings follow a strict ritual:

– we draw randomly to see whose stocking we’re filling (the little kids get help, but Kavi and Brooke (at 14) are now old enough to do it on their own, and spend their own money too)

NOTE: if there’s another adult in the household, it is critically important not to leave it to Mama to fill her own stocking, even if she ends up filling all the others when the kids are little. If another adult allows Mama to fill her own stocking (unless she specifically requests to do so because she wants particular things in it), you have failed Christmas.

– we set a money limit for the total stocking (this year it was $100, but it could be much lower — stocking gifts in the past have included things like post-its and pens)

– everyone needs to find an agreed upon # of items for the stocking (we usually end up around 8, because that’s what fits)

– if there are items that don’t fit, they get stacked on the shelf on top of the stocking

– every stocking generally gets an orange in the toe, unless you hate oranges, in which case you might get an apple or a pear or some such

– filling in with favorite candies and/or fruit and/or nuts is totally appropriate

– gift cards (small) are also totally appropriate

– in theory, we’re not supposed to eat on Christmas morning before stockings — coffee and tea, but not food. In practice, many of us get hungry and nibble a little something before we start.

– starting with the youngest, we go around in a circle and open stocking gifts one by one, observing and commenting on what people get. Yes, this takes a solid hour with 10 people participating. It’s a little torturous for the little ones sometimes, but it’s good for them. 🙂

– we break for brunch after stockings and before other gifts (there are usually not nearly so many of the other gifts)

I love this tradition; it slows Christmas down and gives lots of time to appreciate and notice what people get excited by. Kevin’s mom is reliably brought to tears by anything sentimental with photos of the kids. It’s very sweet.

Last photo is one of the stocking gifts my niece, Brooke, got for me, a tea strainer with little birds. Put a bird on it!

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