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.
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