This Christmas stocking is more than 50 years old.
It was knitted by my Italian grandmother, and every one of her more than twenty grandchildren was given one. Then all her grandchildren’s husbands and wives received one, and their children, and their children’s children. How many are out there now? Sixty? Seventy? I tried to count but couldn’t figure it out.
Every Christmas for more than sixty years one has been hung somewhere, stuffed with the sort of things you stuff in a stocking. Go to any of my cousin’s homes and you’ll see them. Today, the great, great grandchildren have them, knitted these days by someone my aunt knows.
This is my favorite Christmas tradition.
The idea that so many in my family — kids and adults — have reached into these stockings for so many years, stockings that are nearly identical, some fresh and bright, others showing their age and yellowing a bit. From Hawaii to Florida and across Upstate New York, it’s something that binds us together, and when I hang them up I feel a connection. It’s a powerful thing, and to me, it’s what Christmas is all about.