Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Tale of Two Stockings

Once upon a time, I decided it would be a brilliant idea, because all my ideas are fabulously brilliant (in my demented head), to make felt stockings for Ben and I for Christmas.

You know the ones.

I ordered a Santa one for Ben, and a more whimsical one for me. A sugar plum fairy with all sorts of wondrous little peppermints and gingerbread men and candy canes! Look, there's even a cupcake!

You see, I adore Christmas. I love the baking. I love the decorating. I love finding special little things to get loved ones. I love the magic that's in the air, the love and caring that comes out at such a enchanting time of year. I love the old classic Rudolph and Frosty cartoons. I love the new version of the Grinch. I love the Muppet Christmas Carol. I love White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life....

Ben on the other hand, is a bit more blase about it.

When we first got married, we didn't even have a Christmas tree. We had just moved down to the Pond and I had just gotten a job a few months beforehand. Since we weren't spending Christmas in the Pond at our house and we were on a budget, we simply decorated the two foot tree I'd had at my college dorm room and my childhood bedroom before that.

At that moment, I decided I would make Christmas special for us every year after that. I vowed I would collect one or two decorations and create something special every year.

Visions of appliqued Christmas pillows hugged by children and grandchildren and homemade stockings danced in my head. Forget a store bought Christmas--I was going to create the greatest one any family could ever have!

Last year I made a wreath for the door. But this year it was all about stockings.

Before, we had used the basic red and white fuzzy ones you get at Wal-Mart for like a dollar. But now, we were going to have whimsical stockings. Fun stockings. Homemade stockings.

There was only one problem.

I had forgotten I hated sewing. When I was eight I tried to sew pillowcases. I finished the same pillow case at 11.

I had officially entered myself in the Moron Club. A moron with a lot of work to do. For weeks, I took a few hours out of every weekend to stitch and work on the Santa stocking seen above. As of last week, I had a row of crooked sequins, three gold stars and the white top of the beard.

And I was miserable. This wasn't relaxing. It wasn't fun. It wasn't magical at all.
Since I like to share things with the people around me, I kept Ben updated (whined, moaned and complained) about the state of the stockings.

Finally, his lips curled back and he roared, "Throw the stupid things away and we'll buy some stockings!"
I desperately wanted a magical, memory making stocking. But I didn't want to pay for it. And I didn't want to admit defeat. For another few weeks, I checked every store, scrolled through Web sites and pondered my inability to sew with everyone around me.

After staring at the stocking display at Target for an hour Sunday, Ben clutched my arm and stared at me with the wounded eyes of a man who has been at a retail establishment way too long.
"Blond Duck," he pleaded. "Please just pick one. A stocking isn't what Christmas is about. I mean you're always ranting about how people don't know the true meaning of Christmas. All that matters is we hang out on Christmas, right? It's all about being together."

Suddenly, my vision blurred. It had happened.

I had forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. I had become so caught up in creating the perfect Christmas, obsessing over creating a perfect tradition that I had let the true meaning slip by me. Instead of thinking about others or my family, I had been obsessing over an over sized sock with sequins. I was trying to be the perfect Christmas elf, and not the usual creative person I am.

You see, normally my creative ventures look as elegant as this. I'm all about the randomly compiling things together from scrounging around the house. This was a product of my college internship: a sequin and rhinestone covered snowman clutching a bottle of Tabasco and a top hat.
That's what my dad gets for paying for a four year private university!

So I came up with a new plan.
We're going to keep our old red and white fuzzy $1 stockings. But we'll do whatever we want to them.

I might put sequins on it. I might stick the fuzzy bird on it. I might put glittery rhinestones. I might put something special on it every year. Heck, I might just wipe my nose on it.

But it will be made with love and joy, not obligation and expectation. And I'll have plenty of time leftover....
To give you a present! That's right Invisible Friends! I'm giving you the untouched Bucilla Sugar Plum Fairy Stocking Kit! This little beauty can be hanging from your mantle in no time! Perfect for girls of all ages! Tell your friends, tell the world.

Whoever posts a link to this on their blog gets an extra point in the running. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me about your favorite stocking or gift you got in the stocking and you're in the running. The contest closes Nov.25 at midnight and the winner will be announced on Thanksgiving.

Don't you think it's a brilliant idea, cookie stealing bunny?

Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! We have a new edition of "Twirl" tomorrow and a tasty surprise Thursday, along with another whimsical tale and a new edition of "Kitchen Magic!" Let's hear those comments, Friends!


n.o.e said...

Aww, sorry about your stocking ordeal! When my husband and I first got married, I planned to make us stockings like the ones my Mom had made when I was little. The first year I bought us some cheapo knit stockings at a department store. Did I ever get around to the sewing? Nope (although I bought the fabric and trim). 27 years later we still hang the stockings from our first Christmas, which I've had to mend several times.

I got smarter for my girls; one has a stocking made by her great grandmother, and the other has one made by her aunt.

In the bottom of my sewing box sits the fabric and trim from my stocking project!

Post a picture of the stockings you do hang - it's what's inside that matters the most - and of course the love underlying everything!


~~louise~~ said...

I think this story is a gem glistening in memories.

I don't sew and my crafting skills are nil. Although, I have been known to make an advent calendar or two.

Have FUN! with your contest...

Katherine Aucoin said...

This post came from your heart and I love it! The best thing I EVER found in my stocking was in 1997 my husband painted the girls hands and stamped their handprints on paper so I would remember how small their hands were...I cried.

Maria said...

Stockings are the best!! I love giving and receiving stocking stuffers, they are so fun!! We just got married in June so I need to find us some extra special stockings this year!!
And I love that bunny stealing the cookie. Too cute!

Amy's Stocking Stuffers said...

I enjoyed your story! Stockings are my favorite, as you might guess from my blog name... ;-)

I have no talent for sewing myself, so we too have store-bought stockings. (I'm lucky, though -- I have one of the few husbands who really gets into filling a stocking for me!)

Thanks again for the fun story!

Marjie said...

Oh, Duckie, we use the dollar fuzzy stockings around here. I went so far as to put everyone's names in glitter (using very wide swaths of plain ol' Elmers) on them. I don't have a stocking, and never had, but the kids do enjoy theirs! Hugs to you, and don't be sad, my invisible Friend!

Cathy said...

That cookie stealing bunny picture gets me every time. Can I borrow it to use as my screen saver? You know, I get on these crafty kicks regularly, but I can't seem to follow through. My MIL made all of our stockings. You can buy so many cute ones these days, too! Be sure to come back and tell us what you end up doing in the stocking department!

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

adorable stockings!!!!!!!!!

Ingrid said...

LOL! Great story. While I'm fairly crafty I don't have the patience for it! I'll take the $1 one and write our names with a glitter pen!

Pumpkin said...

When I was a wee one, my mother decided to cross stitch a magical, old-timey Victorian-style Santa stocking. I am now 26 years old, and the stocking is still barely started...

Bobbi Jo said...

Sweet Blonde Duck,
I am so sorry about your stocking ordeal. It was funny I must say but sad the same. I love Christmas. Two of my favorite gifts that my Sweet Santa puts into my stocking every year are a bottle of OPIUM perfume and my favorite chocolates. I am known for my smelling of Opium all the time and my love for chocolate daily. I would love to win the stocking. I try to go with the theme that I am doing each year. I have a Christmas tree in each room of my house and just love the Christmas season. I too sometimes get lost in the crafting for Christmas but bring myself back to the true meaning of Christmas as soon as I can.
I love your blog. I will be posting about this giveaway too.
Crossing everything I can to win. Hugs, Bobbi Jo-AZ

Theresa said...

I can so relate to this story. Because I didn't want those plain red and white stockings. I wanted something more sentimental, so for my kids, I DID make those felt stockings. My kids are 18 and 20 now, but I had a lot more patience back then. I did complete them and they still have them today. I just love looking at them when they are hung. They have so much more meaning!

Theresa said...

The cookie bunny's back!! That bunny makes me laugh :)

Pam said...

Oh Blonde Duck. I had a similar experience when I was pregnat with my first child. I wanted to sew a beautiful stocking that she would have forever...It's still sitting in a craft bag in the garage (she is 6 in two weeks). I worked on it a few times but I just couldn't get into it. Please don't enter me in the contest because it would just sit in my garage with the other one. :)

Bunny said...

Hey cookie bunny's have to eat too! You've got the best gift Duckie, the spirit of Christmas living in your heart. Those stockings , although very pretty, don't make Christmas, you, Ben , the babies and everyone you love make Christmas. But you already knew that honey.

Mary Ann said...

I must say I have never had the desire to make a stocking, but that is just because my sewing failures stay at the front of my mind at all times, to remind me to never go near a sewing machine.
I was born on Dec. 24th, so I came home in the most ginormous stocking ever made. It was never filled to the top, probably because it was 6x the size of my siblings stockings, but I have continued using it all these years.
The funny thing about it is, my husband was born on Dec. 23, and he also came home in a giant stocking. We both have our giant baby stockings, along with the little hats we were wearing, photos, Matt even made it into the paper, so he has newspaper clippings on his. Anyway, this is turning into a book and I am not as good at telling stories as you are!
So, we both have Christmas, bringing home baby, giant stockings, with all the trimmings.

Candy said...

I can never even find mine! They disappear like socks in the dryer.

jenjen said...

Hi Duckie!!! I loved your post today. I am not a seamstress so I haven't made my family any fabulous stockings. My little sister made my oldest son the cutest stocking when I was pregnant with him and he still uses it. It's very special. I agree with you -- all the trappings don't mean anything it's all about love and being with the people you care about.

Good luck with your contest -- you are so clever!

Erica said...

Hey girl! Thank you so much for the comment on my blog. I think it is the most honest/nicest comment I have ever received! Healthy life means enjoying exercise and food! Hooray!

Hmmm first off- love Christmas :) Favorite gift? My mom always gets my sister and I a calendar and an ornament every year. When I was younger I use to be like yuck a calendar? an ornament? Now I LOVE getting them and look forward to them. My sister and I always pick up the obvious packages and say owww looks like a new car (when its obviously the calendar ;)!

Hope you're having a good week!

Veggie Mom said...

Your bunny is a GENIUS! I especially like that photo, but the rest are great, too. I noticed you're a Superior Scribbler, and it shows! Hey, I'm over from SITS, and I'm making the rounds. Gotta Great Giveaway over at my place...please stop by when you can!

Aggie said...

Loved your story! One of my favorite gifts (now don't laugh!) is my Dyson I got last year! Yes, my husband bought me a vacuum (he was very innocent about it too), he knew I would love it! :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Lorraine E said...

LOL at Moron club, I think I'm a member of that too :P

I love the elegant simplicity of the stockings in the first pic but that stocking kit looks fab too!

nikkicrumpet said...

I hate to sew too...so I feel your pain. That's what HOT GLUE is for! Hot glue is our friend!!!

Maryann said...

That bunny is awesome. I'd like to see more pics of him haha

Lucy said...

I too love decorating for Christmas, my home becomes a winter wonderland.I have a collection of stockings for our family and my little pups (adding one for Chloe this year)

I just love that bunny... did you make him???

What I would love to find in my stocking is either gold or diamonds ;-) ask me how many times I've found them LOL!!

TavoLini said...

what a touching post! (and a sneaky bunny--get me a cookie, too!)

I have one of those crazy felt stockings my aunt made me when I was little! I remember getting in trouble for pulling down my sister's and mine, and having the characters talk to each other. That and pulling the whole miniture nativity scene into the party :)

sassy stephanie said...

I love the duck!

Great story.

jubilee said...

Just popping over from SITs to say, "hi!"

Rosie said...

Beautiful stockings!!

Rosie x

noble pig said...

I am laughing so hard and if you want any more of those jack-in-the box heads I just found a container full in my garage! Don't enter me in the contest because I cannot sew a button! Nothing, nada...instead I married a surgeon and he sews my buttons but I know he would draw the line at making me a fairy stocking! Loved your story.

natalia said...

Ciao ! i love your misadventures ! We would like to keep your robber in jail at our place ! In Rome the calza is for the 6th of january and is brought from an ugly old lady called befana (don't ever call any lady like that !) She came in my bedroom during the night and left the stocking on the bed so that on the morning I would find it and nibble on all the goodies !About sewing : I'm good (I must be: I restore old textiles!)but ...the cobbler's shoes...

Prairie Girl said...

aw, cute stockings. It's definitely the thought that counts :)

Enjoy this magical time of year!

Prairie Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

I had the most enormous stocking as a child. It was magical in its size and the wonderful gifts it could hold. Ah, great memories.

The W.O.W. factor said...

I've made about 6 of those beautiful stockings! Yep...alot of work! 2 I actually finished on a Christmas Eve..just in time for Santa's arrival. I like your other ideas better! have fun!

Marie said...

Awww Duckie, I wish I lived closer so that I could help you with your stockings, because I do like to sew! Nevermind, you just never know what magic Christmas will bring to you both. Miracles have been known to happen. Ohh, I have lovely stocking memories. I always wanted one as a child, but never had one. I made sure each one of my children did have one and lovely ones too, all handmade by myself. I hope that they still have them. Who knows where they ended up after the divorce . . . grumble grumble...

Marie said...

PS. We had a Christmas Bowl, does that count? Favourite thing I got in it was always the Ribbon Candy. I miss Ribbon candy, we don't get it over here! OH and Barley Candy toys. I loved them as well. Something else we can't get!

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