Christmas Stockings Past and Present

  • Posted on: 21 December 2012
  • By: kate

When my brothers and I were kids, my parents hung our Christmas stockings at the ends of our beds. I think they found it romantic; visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads and all that. My two oldest brothers were already too cool for stockings, so my youngest-older brother and I were the most psyched about our pre-Proper-Christmas-Present presents. We'd wake up in the morning to find all manner of goodies. Actually, we would wake up in the middle of the night. We'd eat all our candy, play with all our toys, and, by 5 AM, we'd be so cracked out we'd have already broken half the shit we got. The stockings soon moved downstairs to the mantel.

Outraged at this injustice, my brother and I decided we would not wait until morning to get our stockings. Our mission - and we did choose to accept it - was to get downstairs as soon after my parents had gone to bed as humanly possible. We would then seize our stockings and abscond silently upstairs with them, there to play until the dawn light snaked its way through our windows. (Or until Mum caught us.) We hatched a strategic plan of attack Napoleon himself would have been proud of. There were blueprints involved. Alarm clocks were set. False bathroom breaks were scheduled, and rendezvous points were decided.

The first Christmas we put our plan into motion, I ruined it, of course. At about ten o'clock, Dad caught me spying on him through the banisters and chased me back to bed shouting at me about being ungrateful. I then fell asleep and didn't wake up till 7 AM. My brother fared slightly better. He waited till 2 AM and then snuck downstairs. Thus followed the traditional cycle of cracked-out hysteria/exhaustion. Ah, fond childhood memories.

AWKWARD SEGUE TIME! Stocking stuffers in my house aren't going to be the same as they were in my childhood home. For one thing, my son doesn't seem to have the tolerance for candy that I did at his age. (This is probably a very good thing, especially considering the state of my teeth now.) As far back as I can remember, we always got Cadbury's Selection Boxes in our stockings. Non-Brits: Selection Boxes are fancy candy gift boxes that contain five different chocolate bars. That's about 1000 calories of chocolate before breakfast. I am surprised I don't have diabetes right now. It was the '80s, though, in England to boot, and so this was the order of the day. So yeah. My kid is getting a couple of chocolate coins in his stocking. Maybe one of those tiny Lindt chocolate Santas if he plays his cards right. The balance of the stocking will be non-candy items. My oldest is getting Matchbox cars, glow sticks, and a Ninjago figurine. The baby's getting a teething toy, some rice cereal, baby spoons, and a tiny jar of prunes (in honor of his imminent first solid meal).

What about you? What are you putting in your kids' stockings?


i loved those christmases. the feeling of warmth and safety was the best thing; never quite had that ever since.

I was that oldest brother!... Too cool for stockings? I couldn't possibly comment... but as you would expect, being boys, at Christmas as in life, we had sacks instead of stockings... There is, of course, that half-generation age gap between the two pairs of kids, and with that must have come an accompanying development in parental thinking... My personal best was getting stuck into the presents at 10 minutes past midnight on Christmas Day, 30 seconds after the deposit of the Christmas sack in my bedroom... and I too felt the sharp edge of the fatherly tongue... I wouldn't have minded, but he wasn't even wearing the red suit and white beard...
Good to hear that Matchbox cars are still cool... If only I'd kept my Aston Martin DB5 from 1968, I'd be able to fund everyone else's Christmas presents until 2050; and I was given Selection Boxes at Christmas until I was 42...
You can keep the prunes though... until I hit 85 maybe... I'll get back to you...

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