stockingsWhat was one of my favorite part of Christmas as a child and has remained so all the way into my seventieth year on this little planet?  What do I procrastinate shopping for, moaning and groaning about what to buy for who?  What brings me my least favorite and most favorite part of Christmas Eve preparations and makes me smile the most as my grandkids continue my childhood tradition of opening first?   The answer, of course, is Stocking Stuffers, known more commonly in our family as just Stuffers.

As children, when the clock reached the hour we were told we could wake our parents, during those interminable minutes between the time we woke them and they actually got out of bed, the only thing we were allowed to open were our stocking Stuffers.  There were small toys,orange candy and always, an orange.  Santa must have had a surplus of oranges back then.  When we were grown and could no longer count on Santa to fill our stockings, we began the tradition of buying Stuffers for each other.  Things Santa might never have thought of began to make appearances in our stockings.  I recall a can of alligator chowder in mine and a large licorice rat in my brother’s.  Santa didn’t have the Reed sense of humor.  When we had kids of our own, we continued to buy for each other as well as being Santa for our kids.  We began to worry about things like being sure not to use the same paper for Stuffers that we did for other gifts not from Santa.  You know how observant little minds can be.  And now this old Santa is picking out Stuffers for his grandkids, which is more fun than a barrel of … well … of grandkids.

Of course, there is the wrapping to be done.   In my family, Stuffers were always wrapped.   My son-in-law’s family didn’t wrap Stuffers and every year he inquires why we have to, and partway through my Christmas Eve Stuffer wrapping, I’m inclined to wonder, too.  I suspect my Dad may have asked the same thing of my mother. She probably said, That’s how it’s done, and she’s probably watching me to make sure I do it right.  Stuffers are traditionally odd shaped and odd sized, making wrapping them a pain in the you no what (no profanity with Santa on his way).  The only saving grace in our family tradition is that Santa was not a careful Stuffer wrapper, so I can be pretty sloppy with the paper and tape.  And filling the stockings on Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed, these days to overflowing, is one of the best tasks of the night.

We are lucky to spend the night at our grandkids’ house on Christmas Eve so we can see them open their presents.  They have to stay in their rooms until parents and grandparents are ready with cameras to snap their excited faces as they round the corner into the family room where the tree is waiting.   Mom says, That’s not how it’s done, Bud, but it’s theirrings Christmas now and their tradition.  And it’s fun to watch them open the stockings … and pretend to never have seen the three color flashing rings when they excitedly show them to me.  Santa gets the credit and I get the best gift a Papa can get, those happy faces.

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One Comment on “Stuffers”

  1. Amy Says:

    I love the stuffers too!

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