Sherry Stocking Kline
December 11, 2009
Thanks once again to Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers for today’s Advent Calendar Challenge!
December 11 – Other Traditions
Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions form their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?
My Stocking ancestors came from England in the 1630’s, and while they inter-married with those of Scottish and/or Irish descent as well as Native American, whatever traditions any of them might have brought with them have been long lost, or interwoven with more recent American ones.
On my mother’s side, I’m still trying to knock down the brick wall that a man named Jones who marries a woman named Smith creates. I’ve read in a book that speaks about our Smith family history that we have Welsh and French on that side.
For my family, it was all about Christmas Eve…
For my family, wherever the tradition came from or whether it began with my parents, Christmas was all about Christmas Eve. We gathered together, Dad, Mom, my youngest brother (still older than myself), my oldest brother and his growing family, and we exchanged presents. And we all knew that the presents that night came from our parents and grand-parents, not from Santa.
But the Christmas Stocking was what held the magic! It came from Santa himself!
Here is an excerpt from mountaingenealogy.blogspot.com that sounds like my experience, too!
“And we aren’t talking about the rather large, decorative stockings of today. These were literally their stockings [socks] that they wore on a daily basis.”
We didn’t have a fireplace, nor even a wood stove, so we pinned the stockings to the couch, usually the side nearest to the door, as that was where the jolly old elf was believed to come into our home!
The stockings that we hung had to be our own!
The stockings that we hung had to be our own! So the presents that we got when we were little were, well, little!
I remember getting tiny little animals that I loved to play with, and most often they were tiny little horses with cowboys and Indians to ride them and sometimes there was candy in the toe, and a barrette for my long honey-blonde braids.
And the good thing was, that as I grew, the socks grew, and the presents became bigger!
How exciting it was to ‘graduate’ from not-so-stretchy little Buster Brown cotton socks to extra stretchy (and longer) bobby socks! Much more room for goodies!
My children used to ‘cheat’…
I continued the hanging of the Stocking’s with my children, though they were allowed to ‘cheat’ and particularly the youngest more often than not scoured the house giggling and laughing, comparing one sock to another while she hunted for the largest stretchiest stocking available, most often her Dad’s calf high athletic sock.
A good thing, that, as they sometimes found their favorite music CD all tucked in with other goodies from Santa.