My Top Christmas Stocking Fillers
Hanging Stockings on Christmas Eve is a Long Tradition in Our Family
When I was growing up my brothers and sisters and I always hung up our stockings on Christmas Eve and continued the practice until we grew up and moved out. We always received an orange along with some wrapped chocolate candies and often, when we were young a small toy like the ones you find in McDonald's Happy Meals now days. As we got older, the toy was replaced with more age appropriate things like a small bottle of after shave or similar item. One year, when I was in college, I joked about wanting a blond for Christmas so my youngest sister, who was a teenager at the time, sewed a large stocking and cut out the head shot of a blond model from a large magazine ad for Breck Shampoo. She taped the picture to a piece of cardboard for support and placed it in the stocking for me. I still have the stocking which we still use each Christmas, but not the blond.
We Begin The Tradition of a Coconut in My Son's Stocking
When I married and we adopted our first son, I resumed the tradition of hanging stockings by hanging three stockings (one for my son as well as stockings for my wife and I) on the mantle and proceeded to fill them as my father had done when I was a child. I included an orange in the stockings for my wife and me but substituted a coconut for my son. You see, we had adopted him in Honduras earlier that year and, while my wife had had to come back to the U.S. to take her law school exams, I remained with my son and friends in Honduras for an extra ten days while the paperwork was finished. While there, we spent a weekend at a local beach resort on that country's east coast. As I was playing on the beach with my son, a native lady came by with a pile of coconuts on her head and as soon as my son, who was 18 months old at the time, saw the lady he became very animated pointing to the lady and excitedly repeating cocos Poppy, cocos Poppy... (coconuts Daddy). My friend's wife suggested I try one, so I purchased three - one for my friend, one for his wife and one for my son and me. The coconut lady knelt down, removed three coconuts from her hat and, with swift strokes of her machete, cut the top off of each coconut. My son's sand covered hand was inside the coconut in an instant scooping out the creamy meat. While it was a great treat for him, he quickly realized that this experience of eating a coconut was new to me. Thrusting his hand toward me, he offered a handful of coconut meat to me and then, beaming with pride proceed to show me how to scoop out the meat myself. The meat was good, although I can't say the same for the sand which had become liberally mixed with the contents of the coconut as a result of David's not bothering to wipe the sand off his hand before immersing it in the coconut. However, I will never forget how he beamed with pride when he realized that there was something he could show me how to do. Beginning with his first Christmas with us and down to the present, I have always made it a point to buy a coconut for his stocking each Christmas.
When my two sons were younger I got the coconut for the older one and an orange for the younger one and myself along with some chocolate candies and little toys for their stockings. When I remarried we introduced my wife and her two children to the custom which was new as they were not used to celebrating Christmas when they lived in Russia. Since my youngest, who is my stepson, is now 18, I have dispensed with the toys but do try to find other, relatively inexpensive things such as a gift card to Starbucks for my daughter, McDonald's or Burger King gift certificates for the boys, etc. Of course, I continue to include a stocking for my wife and myself as well as for my oldest son who has now moved out on his own but still gets a stocking with his coconut and other goodies.
© 2007 Chuck Nugent