Mantles adorned with garland and other holiday trinkets make fireplaces come alive for Christmas. That magic is only enhanced by hanging Christmas stockings which are just waiting to be filled with goodies for good girls and boys. Those without a fireplace often hang stockings from windowsills and stairway banisters.
No written record exists to explain the origin of hanging stockings on fireplace mantles. Despite this, many people link the tradition to a tale about St. Nicholas. As the story goes, St. Nicholas was traveling through a village when he overheard the plight of three women. They were poor, and their father could not afford an ample dowry to marry them off. Rather than have them end up spinsters, St. Nicholas secretly tossed bags of coins through a window (or down the chimney, depending on which version of the story you read or hear), and they were captured in the girls’ stockings hanging to dry by the fire. The family was overjoyed to have received such riches.
Soon news traveled about the mysterious money in stockings, and other children left out stockings for St. Nicholas to capture their own gifts The tradition has transformed over the years, and now many children hang stockings by the chimney with the expectation that the stockings will be filled with gifts from Santa. Traditions once suggested that only gifts from Santa were left in stockings, while gifts placed beneath the tree were from family, but that has since changed. Stockings are now meant to hold small gifts while larger items are placed under the tree.
Stockings should be hung away from the flames of the fire as a safety precaution. Some children even like to hang individual stockings on their bedposts instead of on a fireplace mantle.
Leaving cookies and milk for Santa Claus is a Christmas Eve tradition. Children regularly place a dish of cookies and a glass of milk by the tree on Christmas Eve so that Santa has enough energy to complete all of his gift-giving before kids wake up on Christmas morning. The tradition of leaving cookies out on Christmas Eve may trace its origins to Saint Nicholas. On the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6, the children would leave food and drink for the saint and any attendants. The treats would be exchanged for gifts.
While that’s one theory behind the tradition, others, think it is linked to the history of the Christmas tree and the edible decorations that adorn it. Santa would snack on the ornaments. Even after edible decorations gave way to inedible ornaments the tradition of leaving a snack for Santa remained.
Whatever the origins behind the tradition, millions of children dutifully leave milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.
Today is definitely wintery. Not my favorite kind of weather. The temp has been falling all day. We’ve had freezing drizzle which makes getting out very iffy. Ever since my mother fell on ice and paralyzed herself from the neck down, I do my best to avoid getting out when it is icy. Given my recent fall, I certainly don’t want to fall on ice!
The weather forecasters are saying we might have an inch of snow on top of the frozen drizzle. Not a good scenario for getting out and about. I never did make it to Five Below yesterday so I’ve shuffled things around and think I’ve come up with some suitable stocking stuffers. This is no weather to go shopping in.
I would like to get out tomorrow for church. The evening service is the annual Candlelight one with the special music program. Sadly, the sound on my computer isn’t working and I won’t be able to hear it as a live stream. I could watch and see who the special singers are but I’d rather hear them. With the high forecast to be 15, there is no chance that things will melt. I’m not sure what the road crews can do to make it safe to drive tomorrow.
I dug around in my gift closet the other day. I managed to find enough stocking stuffers for two of the three stockings I have to do. Still need to find some stuff for that third stocking. It’s my brother-in-law’s stocking and I find him hard to buy anything for. I went to Dollar Tree yesterday but only found a pair of socks there for him. The store was singularly lacking in “male” type gifts. I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon and plan to go to Five Below while I’m out and see what I can find there. I was able to get the candy for the stockings at Dollar Tree.
My Christmas shopping was completed yesterday. Well, I still need to get stocking stuffers but the real gifts have all been purchased and most of them wrapped. I skipped putting bows on the packages this year. That will make it easier to pack them up for transport to Mike’s for Christmas Day opening. I need to check my “gift closet” to see if I have any suitable stocking stuffers in it. Poor closet doesn’t get used as much as it used to since we’ve gone to drawing names. Still, there might be something in there that can go in a stocking..
The Christmas tree is up and adds its cheer to the evenings. I haven’t put up my felt tree for pinning cards to it. I hope to get that done today. I’ve received a couple of cards but haven’t mailed any yet. That’s another chore for today but first I must complete my latest class sample for Joann’s.
Last week I attended the Christmas program at church. This was done by the youth department. I thought they were doing a play but instead it turned out to be a sort of cantata. The youth choir did a great job with the music. I especially enjoyed the mixture of traditional carols with more contemporary songs. Next Sunday evening will be another musical service. Not exactly a Festival of Carols but sort of a showcase of various singers from the entire congregation. It will be interesting to see who they will be. I’m sure there will also be some congregational singing which I will gladly participate in.
Yesterday was a busy day. It started with my getting my mammogram done. The x-ray program continued with my going by the hospital and having a batch of x-rays of my knees taken. Next up was the dexa scan but I needed to make an appointment for that. An appointment for Monday was scheduled.
After finishing my x-ray adventures, I went to Barnes & Noble where I almost completed my Christmas shopping. I like finding gifts at B&N. I see things there that I don’t see in other stores. So I got a kit to teach yourself how to juggle, a model of a Star Wars character to be built, a kit to teach yourself how to do yo-yo tricks and, last but not least, a book. I only need to get two more gifts. I have the items picked out — if the stores haven’t sold out of them — and I hope to purchase those in the next couple of days.
All those excursions yesterday has left me feeling pretty tired today so I’ve been taking it easy. I’d like to put up my Christmas tree this evening and maybe even wrap the gifts I purchased yesterday. I’d like to think about Christmas cards too but I may postpone that until tomorrow.
How are your Christmas preparations coming?
Saturday night I went to the Symphony. The man who usually sits behind me was there and we had an interesting chat before the concert and during the intermission. He shared an idea he and his friends/family do during Christmas. He said most of them are at an age where they don’t need more stuff so they exchange charities when asked what they want for Christmas. He makes a donation in the questioner’s name to a charity they like/support and they do the same for him. I think that sounds like a great idea. What do you think?
The program was interesting. All of it was music I had never heard but I found it to be easy listening. I’ve misplaced my program so I can’t tell you much about it. The first number was by Sibelius and the second was by someone I’d never heard of. The final portion was a piano concerto. It was very well played.
I’ve been gathering things for my charity donation tomorrow. I still need to get them in a box and set it out on the porch. The truck will be by between 7 a.m. and dark which would be about 5 p.m. If I set it out tonight, I don’t have to get up early.
Yesterday I finally met my new doctor. She seems to be on top of things and has ordered x-rays of my knees, bone scan of my spine and “scolded” me because I haven’t had a mammogram in a couple of years. She gave me a referral to a dermatologist since I have a new mole which needs to be examined. The dermatologist she referred me to isn’t taking patients who have my kind of insurance so I called the insurance company and got a referral to one who is in the network. I’m feeling rather virtuous because I now have an appointment for my mammogram and one with the dermatologist. I don’t need appointments for the x-rays since they’ll be done at the hospital. I think I might get those done tomorrow or Thursday. It depends on what time the home health nurse comes tomorrow.
I’ve started my Christmas shopping. I drew my niece’s name at Thanksgiving. On her list was a pair of floor lamps. She said they were from Walmart. I couldn’t find them in my Walmart store and thought, “Oh, no! This is another case like the boots she wanted one other year when I had her name. I had to order them over the Internet.” I’m not a great Internet shopper and much prefer getting something at a store. I checked the Walmart website and there was a link to which of their stores had the lamps. My regular one didn’t but another one that is nearby did. So I went there to get them.
The lamps that store had were similar to the one she told me she wanted but not the exact one. I decided to buy them anyway and if she isn’t happy with them, she can exchange them. The big difference, I think, is the light bulb. The one she told me about comes with a CFL lightbulb. The one I bought uses a three-way lightbulb. So we’ll see how that works out.
It’s so nice to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.