Coins. Oranges. Nuts. What Will Be in the Toe of Your Stocking?

We didn’t have stockings at Christmas when I was growing up.

I don’t know why we didn’t feel deprived.  I don’t remember what other families did, but I had the impression that some families did have stockings and some didn’t.

For that matter, we never had a fireplace, either.

By the time we got a woodstove, it was one of those contemporary 1950s-style, round woodstoves that, of course, had no mantle.

But, my husband’s family was big into stockings.

And, there were all sorts of traditions about what went into the stockings.

A Chunky chocolate peanut butter bar


Christmas decoration on porch of house flooded...

Christmas Stocking After Hurricane Katrina

, still on the stem.

Apples, oranges and nuts.

A candy cane peeking out from the top of the stocking.

And gold, chocolate coins in the toe.

What About Stocking Stuffers?

Stocking stuffers had their own traditions.

Socks and mittens and lotion and other practical gifts were great in your stocking.

Little toys. Calendars.

Secret Santas

And, everyone contributed.

So, you never knew where your gifts came from.


I finally figured out it was one of my sons who gave me malted milk balls every year, just because he knew I loved them.

My sister-in-law gave her father pipe cleaners every year when he was still smoking cigars, a tradition she had started as a little girl.

And, isn’t that the point of Christmas secrets?

Each child, in turn, learns the secret of Santa by learning how to give secretly, with no expectation of thanks or return.

The warmth of Christmas comes from our joint, renewed spirit of generosity, in honor of the birth of the baby Jesus, whose message was, “Love one another.”

Does your family hang stockings?

Do you have any traditions about what goes into the stockings?

Are they filled only by Santa or does he have helpers?

To you and the joy of Christmas shared with your grandchildren.

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Carol Covin, “Granny-Guru”

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers