Our readers had plenty of stories to share about the tradition of Christmas stockings in their families. Most were started by a mother, grandmother or aunt (nope, no men) and passed down to present generations. Here is a sampling:
>> Omahan Lisa Roth said her aunt sent her a stocking when she was 16. Then the aunt sent stockings when Roth’s children (now 17 and 22) were born. When Roth and John Cox bought a home together, she hunted down a woman in Canada who could replicated the knit stockings for Cox, his three children and two grandchildren. They all go up on the fireplace for the holidays.
>> Ashley Cradduck of Lincoln said her family stockings were made from a quilt her antique-hunting parents had found. Since all the stockings were similar and there wasn’t a place for a name, Santa was guided by Post-It notes attached to each one.
The red in the stockings faded to pink, but no one was willing to give up the stockings. It wasn’t until the quilted loops used to hang them finally became threadbare that those quilted stockings were retired — but they’re still treasured.
>> An unmarried aunt who grew up on a farm near Blair, Neb., began making Christmas stockings for her nieces and nephews in the 1940s. Ruth Marie Lippincott continued to make a stocking for each new family member, writes Pat Hunsche of Blair. And soon she was taking orders from friends and neighbors for stockings. Hunsche said that by the time Aunt Ruth died in 2002 at age 100, she had made 1,998 Christmas stockings. Now other family members have taken up sock-making for the younger generations.
>> Karyn Overbeck of Omaha was born on Dec. 22, 1966. Three days later, each baby was brought to his or her mother in a red and white flannel stocking. “I still hang that stocking every Christmas, and my kids marvel that I used to fit in it,” she writes.
>> Linda Tonack started the stocking tradition in her family by making jumbo-sized versions for her children. She and her husband set out the stockings, filled with about 20 items each, every Christmas Eve after church, and they are the first things opened on Christmas morning as the family has orange Danish and juice.
>> Marles Nicholls of the Elkhorn area of Omaha sent a stocking every year to her first grandchild, Lucy Cecelia Salazar. Through the years there have been fabric stockings, paper stockings, knit stockings, stocking boxes, and candle stockings. The 1995 stocking, the year the Nichollses went to London, Lucy received a sequin stocking from Harrods.
Each one comes with a note. For example: “Your 15th Christmas stocking for your collection is this white chenille stocking made from material used as a bedspread when I was a little girl in the 1940s.” The stockings only stopped when Lucy went to Christendom College, where she is now a senior.
>> A neighbor gave Nancy Cooke of Omaha, her brother and her sister knitted stockings 52 years ago. As that generation married, Cooke’s mother picked up knitting needles and continued to make stockings for her grandchildren. And as the great-grandchildren came along, the knitting needles were passed on to Cooke — who had a great deal of trouble learning to turn a heal. So far 27 stockings have been knitted from the same pattern.
>> Linda Kuhlmeyer of Blair recently completed a stocking for her grandson, Ethan, who is 9 months old. In the past, she made stockings for her daughters when they were little, and she made fleece stockings for every family member with his or her favorite sports team represented on them.
>> Julie Ford’s quilted stockings began in 1998 when the family moved to its current address. In addition to family members, exchange students the family hosted also received stockings, so they have gone to Thailand, the Philippines, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Norway and Kazakhstan.
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