My Christmas preparations are about finished—the cards are mailed, the packages wrapped, and the house decorated. I still have some cooking to do, but it will get done.
I don’t do a lot of decorating for holidays. When the children were small, I made token attempts for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I did a bit more at Christmas. Now, Christmas is the only season that gets any recognition at all in our home.
But we typically have a real evergreen Christmas tree (unless we are traveling for a week or more). I get out two tabletop artificial trees, and I line up the Christmas cards we receive on the mantel. I hang the children’s stockings on mantel hooks my husband installed many years ago, though the children (now in their 30s) no longer allow me to fill them.
Every time I hang the stockings, I smile at a memory of my daughter as a toddler.
As a baby, my son—our older child—received his stocking from my husband’s great aunt, Aunt Evelyn. She had a friend who made Christmas stockings of appliqued felt and sequins and other decorations. The stocking was a lovely gift for our little baby’s first Christmas. His stocking depicts Santa Claus making a list and it bears our son’s name embroidered at the top in heavy gold thread. (He now usually goes by James, but was “Jamie” as a child.)
By the time our daughter came along a few years later, Aunt Evelyn had lost her source for Christmas stockings. I bought a stocking at Hallmark for our baby daughter. But it didn’t match our son’s stocking.
When our daughter was about three, I found a felt appliqued stocking about the same size as our son’s. It showed Santa and a snowman sledding, with a starry blue sky overhead. I bought it and took it home to show my daughter.
She didn’t like it. Her name was not embroidered on the stocking. She burst into tears. “I want my name on it!”
“Let’s just hang it up,” I said. “Everyone will know it’s yours.”
She cried more. Big sobs.
“I’ll embroider it for next year,” I said. “I don’t have time now.”
“I don’t have any gold thread,” I said. “If you want it to match Jamie’s, you’ll have to wait.”
“Fine,” I finally said. “I’ve got blue yarn. That’s all I have. It won’t show up very well, but it’s your choice—blue now or wait until next year for gold.”
Blue yarn won. I whipped out a needle and the blue yarn and embroidered “Marcy” against the dark blue sky.
And so it has remained for more than a quarter century.
When have you as a parent had to placate your child? (Or been placated yourself as a child?)