Lineage of the Christmas Stocking

My cousin, about the age of my mother, knitted the stockings for my younger sister Judy and me when we were very young, and I have knitted the same pattern stocking for each of my children, their wives, and their children. When my daughter-in-law Melissa, Grace’s aunt, reminded me that it was time to start Grace’s stocking, I realized that the stockings have come to mean something to her too!

The pattern is a vintage pattern from the mid-1940s. As a child, I thought it was the most special pattern in the world. Each Christmas morning, our stockings would be magically stuffed with candy and doll bottles and doll shoes and other tiny objects to supplement our play. They were always topped with a large Red Delicious apple, rare for us. Those stockings held the mystery of Christmas Eve night.

When I was almost 8 months pregnant with Jesse, friends gave me a shower, and on the fireplace was a stocking of the same pattern. Shocked that anyone else would know about this secret stocking pattern, I asked my friend about the stocking. She sent me the pattern. A year later, I would be up late Christmas Eve, finishing Jesse’s stocking for his first Christmas. Melissa reminded me that I wouldn’t want to have to be up late Christmas Eve finishing Grace’s!

Since it had been 8 years since I knitted Sabien’s, I retrieved my knitting needles (this is the only thing I knit these days), ordered the yarn (the yarn shop is temporarily closed), but could not find the precious pattern. Melissa suggested it might be online. So I googled “Christmas stocking mid-1900s, children, Santa Claus” and, can you believe it! There it was! The download was about $2.

Yes, there are at least three mistakes so far, and they show up. My cousin was more experienced. I wouldn’t want to offend the gods with perfection! But as I knit this stocking for Grace, my third grandchild and first granddaughter, I knit in the memories of Judy and me sinking hands deep into our stockings Christmas morning, and I knit memory of that Christmas Eve I finished Jesse’s, and then, a year later, Casey’s for his first Christmas. For a few years, I knitted for my nephews and nieces until I couldn’t keep up! But I follow my cousin here too: after she had her own children, she was probably too busy to knit for my younger brother and sister.

I am not finished with the stocking, but I still have two weeks of this ritual, knitting a lineage forward for Grace.