The Traveling Christmas Stockings

Does your family have a tradition involving Christmas stockings? Growing up, I can’t really recall ever having any type of stocking at Christmas. When I met my husband Steve, I was introduced to their Christmas stocking tradition. His Mom, Marjorie prepared the stockings for everyone – she used the white tube socks and filled them with fruits, gifts, nuts, and the year’s coin set. Every single year, we would look forward to the traditional sock.

This year I decided to quilt some stockings. I ordered some printed fabric and planned to quilt most of stocking and add a few beads here and there. Upon hearing my quilter sister Monique suggest that quilting wasn’t necessary if beads would be applied, I opted for the beaded look.

Fabric I received the fabric in late July and my plan was to work on them starting in September. I was asked to travel to Buenos Aires for 9 weeks and left Ottawa early August and decided to take the stockings which would give me something to work on while there. 

Working on these stockings became a nightly ritual. I would finish dinner along with a bit of evening work, then I would work on the stockings. It was no-nonsense work but at the same time, it was almost spiritual. My mind would wander and create future plans, review the past year, dream, think and just relax.

During one of my weekend afternoon walk through the markets I discovered there were many beads stores. I found beautiful colored beads and small elongated beads that made me consider beading wings of some of the birds on the stockings.

White beads became snow flakes and red beads in various sizes simulated holly berries. More of more often I’d stop by the shops and acquire some new colored beads or thread.  When I left Buenos Aires, I believe I had spent at least 35-40 hours per stocking, and enjoyed every minute of it. I had most of the bead work done on 4 stockings, and a few wings.

The weekend before our cruise, Steve and I had the pleasure of taking part of our friend’s 40th birthday party in Prince Edward County, Ontario. I knew we would have some free time, so I brought the stockings along and managed to add a few hours of work to them.

I also brought them with me for our week cruise. We had time in the evening and I even spent a few hours in one of the ship’s bar listening to live music. These stockings have had a long travel to get to this day.

From Ottawa to Buenos Aires and back, from Ottawa to Prince Edward County and back, to Miami, Grand Cayman Island, Cozumel Mexico, Belize Island, Roatan Honduras, Miami to back home, these stockings have traveling more than 25,330 kilometers or 15,740 miles. 

And now, they are completed. Filled with little gifts, they are ready to be handed out to our next generation. I have discovered the joy of handwork, the joy of quietness, the joy of giving… and a new tradition has taken form.

Happy holidays to all of you, and I hope that this time allows for times with family and friends.