As young parents, and young marrieds, my brothers and I started feeling the pull of trying to please everyone as well as try to begin our own traditions with our own families at Christmastime. Budgets were always tight and trying to buy nice gifts for everyone in our families was beyond difficult. I wanted my daughter to wake up Christmas mornings in her own bed and enjoy Christmas at home.
We created Stocking Day. Stocking day is a day 7 to 10 days before Christmas. We gather my brothers, my mother, and all our families and we fill each others Christmas Stocking. The gifts are small and are more often a bit prankish. For example – We gave my mother spray on green one year when her lawn was being particularly difficult.
We gather and share a potluck meal, open our stockings – all the gifts inside are wrapped – and enjoy each others company without the pressure of who’s family do we spend what time with.
As budgets have grown – we now exchange “real” gifts as well. But – there is an understanding that this is not an expectation. Many years I have been better off financially but not poor when it came to available hours. My sisters in law have made gifts of baked goodies for me those years and it was every bit as appreciated as a “store bought” gift.
We now have three girls between us that have graduated high school and there was some discussion about the necessity of stocking day since it was “for the kids” The child-adults were the first to howl that this is tradition – and we must continue. Stocking day will be this Saturday the 18th.