Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Stockings

We all know that things are just THINGS and not really most important in life.
However, have you every had a THING that was just immensely special to you?

Maybe it was handmade for you. Maybe it carried with it a special memory. Maybe it was given to you by someone very special and your attachment to it was more about the person who gave it rather than the thing itself.

Ever since I can remember, my Christmas stocking, handmade for me by my Grandma (my dad's mom) has been something that I LOVED! She passed away when I was fairly young
(elementary school) but during summers when I would visit for a week I began to learn things like needlepoint from her.
This stocking, and a few other homemade Christmas decorations, from her have always been among my favorites at Christmastime. I remember telling my mom OFTEN that "When I get married and have my own house I get to take my Christmas stocking, sorry, but it's MINE!" ;-)

I was also determined to make matching ones for my family members (my mom and dad had some made by my Grandma that always hung with mine as well).

SO, back in 2009, with a little boy of my own already about to celebrate his 2ND Christmas, I decided it was time to get started. I tried to find pattern books that my Grandma had used and asked other family members to send pictures of stockings my Grandma had made them for ideas but....didn't have much luck. I also couldn't find any red burlap so I decided the boy's would have to be in brown. Since I didn't have a pattern, I traced around mine to get an approximate size.
Then came the hours of stitching, figuring out the designs, drawing out sample objects on graph paper....
It quickly became clear that I should have started Jaden's BEFORE October if I hoped to finish by Christmas! So, it became a goal for Christmas 2010, and Daddy's too.

Sadly, as we were traveling and I was carrying my stocking around to use for ideas while making Jaden's, I lost mine somewhere in SD. After searching and searching and never finding it I determined I was just going to have to remake it the way my Grandma did and was SO happy I had a picture (that I had taken so I could blog about the process of making Christmas stockings) that I could use to remake it exactly the same. THAT will have to be my project for Christmas 2011, along with a red stocking for our NEW family member, Alivia. Girls in red, boys in brown - that's the way the tradition will be in my family I guess!

Around Thanksgiving, with Stephen's stocking top not yet finished, and a new baby due to be born any day, I thought I was probably going to have to give up my goal of getting the stockings done. But, since the baby was a bit over a week late, Grandma K was around and let me work on stockings a little bit, and yesterday Grandma H came over to help sew them together......

THEY ARE READY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jaden was very interested in this sewing machine thing!
And, here they are!
As you can see in the picture above, my stocking was just random designs. Since I was making up the pattern for these new ones I wanted to try to do two additional things:
1) Include something special and personalized to the person I was making it for and
2) Include a religious symbol. Christmas stockings are often associated only with Santa and the more secular points of Christmas. However, since JESUS IS the reason for Christmas and I want that to be something that is clear and remembered by my family at all times in our celebrating, I wanted to include reminders of that in the stocking design.

Stephen's stocking has the trumpets and the music notes to reflect his love for and talent in music. IN keeping with the musical theme, I chose the word "Gloria" and the Angels that announced Jesus' birth as the religious symbol to appear. After a lot of thinking, I decided that the best thing to do, to reflect the reality of our world, our family, and our ministry, would be to have multicultural angels!
Since discovering trains, Jaden has LOVED them! So, even though he may grow out of them, there will always be a reminder of that early love on his Christmas stocking. Out of all the words I could have put on his stocking I chose "JOY" I guess because of the joy that he brought to my life. Truly, the "JOY" represents that which we have because Jesus came to be born and live among us to accomplish our salvation. Since we are a bilingual family (sort of - or working on it) I made sure to include the Spanish translation "Gozo." Little did I know when I chose that in 2009 that in 2010 "Gozo al Mundo / Joy to the World" from the Mariachi San Pablo Christmas CD (that Daddy sings on and wrote/arranged several things for) would quickly become one of Jaden's favorite Christmas songs! I also included the manger, star, and the gifts that the Magi brought to baby Jesus as a reminder of the REAL reason we have JOY at Christmas!
Again, I know it is not THINGS that bring true joy in life. But, I can't put into words HOW HAPPY it makes me to see these stockings and know that I get to hang them up in my house every Christmas from now on (well, until maybe my kids steal theirs to take to their homes). I hope that these little tokens of my love will be at least a fraction as special to my family members as mine from my Grandma has been to me.

And, I can't WAIT to get started on Alivia's and mine for next year!

1 comment:

  1. Those are beautiful and wonderful. They will certainly be reminders every Christmas of your love for your family.