Today’s advent calendar prompt is an author’s choice on a topic that helps me remember Christmases past. For me, one of the key remembrances of Christmas past is the Stocking Party. Let me start by saying that in addition to my grandparents I was lucky enough to have two very involved great-aunts. They never married and took great interest in their grandnephews and grandniece. In fact, it was they who helped kindle my interest in genealogy. They were born in the early part of the 20th century and were passionate about their family history. Both librarians, they had done some research on their own and also collected that which others had done. They were also keepers of much family lore and many heirlooms and other artifacts. Once I was old enough, I became interested in where they – and I – had come from. They are gone now, having both lived into their 90s. (I was lucky enough to get the librarian gene and I really hope I got the longevity genes as well!)
What I want to remember about Christmas past, however, are the Stocking Parties they used to hold for us on Christmas Eve. We didn’t get a Stocking Party every year but we had them often enough they are a definite childhood memory. Stocking Parties are a lot of work for the host, but a lot of fun for the guests!
Everyone gets their own stocking at Christmas Eve dinner. As you go through the stocking and open each individually wrapped ‘present’ you find food and treats and toys. Your entire meal – mostly sandwiches and carrot sticks and cookies and other easily wrappable items – is wrapped up in wax paper and placed in the stocking. There are also little toys for the children and other small tokens for the adults. Everyone takes their time opening different items and enjoying the meal, the company and the toys.
I haven’t attended a stocking party in over 25 years and I’ve never heard of anyone else doing something similar. I don’t know if they made it up themselves or if there’s some Secret Society of Stocking Partiers out there somewhere! Someday when my children are old enough, I hope to hold a Stocking Party myself. It would be interesting to see what it’s like on the giving side of the equation.
My great-aunts as young girls