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Tow Sack Stocking: A Hard Times Christmas Story

Updated on March 5, 2015
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Jules Corriere is a playwright and theater director, having written over 40 plays, one of them performing at the Kennedy Center in D.C.

Feed Sack Stocking: An Old Fashioned Christmas Story

This is one of my all-time favorite Christmas Stories I have gathered and written in my career. It takes us back to a place in time when we remembered to be grateful for everything we had. When we were not too proud to make-do. When hard times turned us into strong and very creative people. And when the last belongings of a beloved grandfather find use in a new, uplifting way. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas.

It was a little before Christmas, and I started making out my list...

Of all the things I'd seen in the Sears Roebuck catalogue that I wanted Santa to bring. My mama told me, "Honey, that's an awful lot. Maybe too much for Santa to bring." So I ask, "Well, how much do you think he can bring?"

And mama said, "I'd say, anything Santa can fit in your stocking is what you're going to get."

Well, I thought about that. I went out to the barn and gathered up some tow sacks. Mama had just taught me some stitches when she and Grandma were working on their winter quilt. So, I grabbed my needle, and I sewed together about the biggest stocking you ever saw and I carried it in to mama, and shouted, "Here's my stocking, Mama. You said Santa would fill my stocking. This is my stocking."

You Did Say, "Anything Santa could fit in her stocking!" - My grandmother laughed and cried out.

Mama couldn't go back on her word. Besides, it made my Grandma laugh. This is something she hadn't done since my Grandpa had died that summer, and tells me, "OK, Haley. You go wash up, and say your prayers. Make sure you get to sleep."

I agree, but I stop just before going down the hall. "It's gonna be filled, isn't it? Just like you said?"

Mama stammered, "Well, Haley..." before grandma cut her off, warning me, "Now, Haley, if you don't go to bed right now, then Santa won't bring anything at all." She's right, so I run off to bed.

Mama says, "Please, Mom. Don't encourage her. There's no way Santa can fill this stocking."

Then grandma gets up.

"I've been sitting here, feeling useless. For the first time in 45 years, I didn't have anything to plan for your daddy's Christmas. I didn't know how to make Christmas happen. And I didn't know what to do with all of your Daddy's old clothes. I've been keeping them around like a ghost. He's gone, he's not coming back. But still, I didn't want to get rid of them. Now, I can put his things to use, and put myself to use, too. If Santa can't fill this stocking, then I'm gonna help."

And Grandma and my mama went to work. They worked all night making stuffed animals that they cut and sewed from Granddaddy's old clothes. They stuffed the animals with scraps and cotton. Grandma made a stuffed dog, a rabbit, a raccoon with Grandpa's striped sweater, and she made a blue elephant from his overalls. By the end of the night, that stocking was filled.

I came running down the hall that morning, and couldn't believe my eyes.

"Wow! I knew Santa would fill it! Santa Claus is real."

"Of course Santa Claus is real." Mama says.

Grandma adds, "Santa Claus is love."

I hug all of my stuffed animals. Then stop. And I bring one to grandma.

"Grandma, I think this is supposed to be for you."

"But I thought elephants were your favorite."

"They are. But I think you're supposed to have this one. Hug it. When you hug it, it smells like grandpa. What's wrong Grandma? Don't you like your elephant?"

"Oh, Haley. Yes. I love my elephant."

What Is The Most Special Gift Have You Found In Your Stocking?

I hang my stocking every year, and every year it has been filled. I will always hang my stocking, no matter how old, because I believe in Santa Claus and the Spirit of Christmas. Most of the time, we find candy or fruit. Other times, something special shows up. Have you ever found something special in a stocking?

What is your favorite thing you ever received in a stocking?

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Comments - Do You Have Special Christmas Memories?

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      JGracey 5 years ago

      This is such a wonderful story (memory) - brings tears to the eyes because truly it contains the spirit of Christmas (and Santa) - grandma was right. Santa is love. We taught our kids that Christmas isn't about gifts, it celebrates the birth of Christ (who is love personified), but we also let them celebrate the joy and love of Santa Claus.

      Thanks for sharing such a wonderful gift.

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      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      This story brought tears to my eyes. Your photo of the Christmas tree brings back memories. That's exactly the kind of tree we had when we were kids.