I am quite the fan of Christmas. I like the way it smells. I like the way it sounds. I like the cold air (the one month of the year where I DO,) and I like the way snow looks with Christmas lights. Or ice on Christmas lights. That's REALLY cool. So in honour of the holiday season, I am going to share my favourite Christmas memories and other Christmas trivia over the next few weeks. Many among you will find this sappy. You're right. Got a problem with that?
Today we will start with my stocking.
Back when we were babies, older female relatives knit. Booties, scarves, blankets, you name it. There's a baby coming???!!! It's knitting time!!! (Crocheting was for multi-colored afghans.)
When my brother (who is two years older) was born, my dad's Aunt Til knitted him a fabulous stocking with a jaunty Santa climbing out of a chimney and BOB (his name, luckily) on it in big letters that look like they're straight from a laser. (Even though his given name is Robert, they all knew he'd be called Bob. We grew up in an era where nicknames were just fine...everyone had a nickname and a real name. It was cool. Just ask Tom, whose family called him Thomas.) Bob's stocking is awesome. It's practically three-dimensional, it is so cool. Santa looks like he's winking. He has a fuzzy beard. Aunt Til was a master of the knitcraft. Such an example of perfect holiday cheer is hard to find, I'm telling you. Draw a picture of the perfect Christmas stocking, and this is it.
By the time I was born, Til wasn't knitting anymore. (She may have died in those two years, or perhaps her arthritis got the best of her. Not really sure.) Luckily I had many knitting great aunties, and my Aunt Irma stepped up to the plate. Irma, bless her heart, is saucy and interesting and full of life and love. But she was a bit more.....oh, shall we say abstract in her knitting style? Bob's stocking has a lovely arch and heel square as the calf part turns into a foot. Mine had a bulbous end/foot, making it look more like someone sewed a stocking cap on the end of a legwarmer. Mine says Mindy (as it should,) but the M is in a slightly different font than the rest of the letters. There's a Christmas Triangle with little sequins for ornaments. And a Santa who looks like he used to weigh 6 bills and slimmed down to 250 on a liquid diet, leaving him pear shaped and cave chested. And he looks kind of like a mouse carrying a sack of rocks.
When I was a kid, I totally coveted my brother's sock, but couldn't really swap them because it's hard to change names that are knit into fabric. (I think I may have suggested this before I could read, though.) A complete ingrate as most kids are, I couldn't believe my misfortune at having such an ugly sock. I learned the true meaning of mixed feelings when I wanted desperately to have my stocking displayed but felt total shame when I realised it would be. My mom and dad, who are lovely supportive people, always reassured me and tried to help me find the beauty in my mis-shapen Santa Mouse stocking. Of course, my brother would have none of this. He would point out its flaws any chance he got. He couldn't help it. That was his job.
But as I got older, I learned to love my sock. I realised its hidden joys. For starters, it holds much more than Bob's does. And that bulbous end just begs for extra special presents to be hidden in the toe. And I'm old enough now to appreciate the love that went into knitting it. And the prophetic irony in the fact that I got the oddball stocking.
Of course, 40 years later, my parents figure I can handle the truth. Now they ALL make fun of it when it comes out of the box each year.