Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Purl One, Knit Two Together

Back in the early 1950's, my mom found a pattern for knitting a Christmas stocking for my older brother. That one project led to more than fifty years of Thomas family tradition as she proceeded to knit stockings for my sisters and me as we were born, and then for each of our spouses as they were added to the family. In all, my mom has lovingly created a keepsake for over thirty family members including her grandchildren, their spouses, and great-grandchildren.

My newest ddil,* Amy, received a stocking to match my son’s for a wedding present. The story I want to share is about the one stocking Mom didn't make. Jim and I had only been seeing each other a scandalously short time when it became apparent that our parallel life journeys were about to converge into one single path together.

I'll never forget the conversation we had with my parents, discussing the feasibility of a very low-key, informal wedding ceremony one week before Christmas (1984), with just the two of them as our witnesses. Dad thought this plan was greatly preferable to the alternative, which was for me to travel to Illinois with Jim to meet his family before we got married at a later date. Mom's only objection was a practical (though sentimental) one. She could not possibly knit Jim a stocking in only a few weeks, and it would be unfortunate to spend our first Christmas together without the tradition of matched stockings.

At that point, Jim innocently made a remark, obviously unaware of the significance of "the stocking" my mom was proposing to knit. "Not a problem," he declared simply. "I already have a stocking!" What I feared would turn into an unpleasant scene actually became an amazing confirmation of what we perceived to be God's confirmation of our December wedding date. It turns out that Jim's Aunt Betsy, back in 1953, had chosen the exact same stocking pattern and knitted him a Christmas stocking identical to the original Thomas family stockings from the same decade.

How's that for weird and wacky? True story!

Now it’s your turn. Care to share some Christmas memory with us in the comment section? We love stories!

IRL* Contemplating a new hobby during this next season of life as I face the reality that my 80-something-year-old mom may not live to see all my grandbabies outfitted with the family stocking.

10 comments:

  1. I came home from the hospital in a stocking! I was born on Dec. 22nd and went home three days later. I still have my stocking and used it every Christmas growing up.

    After we got married, my husband complained that his stocking was WAY smaller than mine. I didn't do anything about it until I was pregnant with our second child, at which time I cut up two of my Christmas dresses and, using my stocking as a pattern, made unique stockings for all three of "my boys."

    We don't have a fireplace here in Mexico, so each year we hang them on the stairs. =)

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  2. We don't have a fireplace either, but hang ours on the wall over the piano. :)

    That's sweet that your folks got a Christmas baby. We have a Thanksgiving baby and a Groundhog Day baby, but that's about it.

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  3. Susan, you got nuttin' as in no story to share, or nuttin' for Christmas?

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  4. That is *so* cool!

    This year, because we're in the US and aren't normally, my mom is scrambling to find stockings for our family. Wisely, she's checking thrift stores first. We have, so far, declined changing any of our kids' names to match a cute stocking.

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  5. Mideastmom, I commend you for sticking to the original names you chose, though for a price, it might be tempting! (Off-topic: I wish you had never mentioned the existence of Blue Bell Snickerdoodle ice cream. I may crave it until I hit Texas someday.) Enjoy your Christmas in the USA this year.

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  6. Peggy just showed me this blog. Our families seem to have the same tradition. We do the exact same stockings, and I am just beginning to knit them so I can take over when my grandma can't do it anymore. I'll have to see if I can show you when I see you next.

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  7. That's great, Hannah. Considering I don't even know what "purl" means (assuming it's a knitting term?), you may not realize what you are offering. I am a complete novice. That's crazy that the other L family has the same tradition.

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  8. As kids we would anxiously wake up Christmas morning and see what was in our stockings. The rest of the gifts had to wait for mom and dad to wake up but the stockings were good for any time! We were always given a box of special cereal which would last throughout much of the Christmas break. The only time of year when we got that sugary cereal that's so healthy for you!
    As we got older, we begin all filling each others' stockings but Mom always had a special cereal box sitting under the stocking.

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  9. Cereal. That's a fun tradition. My own daughter is now in charge of stocking stuffers since she lives stateside and can get things not available down here. Her luggage is going to be HEAVY when she comes down.

    We make the kids wait to open stockings until we're all up and ready.

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