I love the Christmas season. My mother has a great deal to do with this.
She did many things to make the Christmas season magical as we were
growing up. Her goal was not to have us concentrate on getting gifts, but
rather to help us feel good about giving to others. The main lesson that
I have learned from my mother is that it truly is better to give than to
receive. She did this in many ways, but the one that impacted me the most
was the Christmas stocking for kids project that she did for children of
our parish whose families were poor. We were not a rich family by any
means, yet mom wanted to help those that were less fortunate than us.
Mom worked on her Christmas stocking for kids project all year long. She
sewed the stockings herself. She made them out of red felt with a white
felt cuff. My sisters and I would then embroider different Christmas
designs on the stockings. The designs were created by tracing around
cookie cutters. Sequins and small beads were then sewn on to further
embellish the stockings. Mom would always have the Christmas stocking for
kids project in mind when she went shopping. She would buy small toys
that were on sale. Back in the days when I was growing up people were
able to trust each other so mom also included many home made goodies in
the stockings. She would make popcorn balls and we would wrap them in
waxed paper. She would also make fudge and caramels which were placed in
the stockings along with an apple and orange.
The Christmas stocking for kids project was then taken to our parish
center and given to the priest. Mom let him determine who would receive
them. Mom’s name was never given to a receiving family, and she was never
told who received the stockings. It was truly a random acted of kindness.
It was not done for personal recognition or gain. The one time that I
asked mom about no one knowing that she was doing this her reply to me
was that God knows.
I have continued my mother’s tradition of the Christmas stocking for
kids. I have my children help pick out toys. We also still hand make the
stockings. We buy treats instead of making them because kids have been
warned not to eat things that are not wrapped from a store. I hope my
children will continue this tradition when they are on their own.