Memory number one: the frantic "secret" plans of a tired "Santa" (a.k.a. mom) making last minute presents. I think my two favorite presents I watched or helped "Santa" with was a rocking moon my friend and I made my little sister Jennifer at the request of "Santa". We got the curve a little off and the bed part was a little off, but it worked and Jennifer crawled into it and read books.
The other was the Badger. Mom was making teddy bears for the little girls and Paul made it known he thought he might like one too. My mom scrapped together just enough fir to make that bear. One small problem... in the wee hours of Christmas she go it turned around. The result? a badger for Paul. Everyone was jealous. Everyone wanted a turn to hold the Badger. I wonder what happened to that badger.
Memory number two: Christmas gift fails. The first and most prominent gift fail that come to mind is fudge. We got married in November. We had no money and a ton of duplicate wedding gifts like salt and pepper shakers and glasses. I wanted to give presents to everyone. I decided to make fudge. FAIL! It never set up. It was more the consistency of hot fudge topping. I didn't have the money to start over so I poured it into any container I could find... including the extra salt and pepper shakers, and mailed them to my parents. Have never been able to live that one down.... and still can't make fudge.
An other memorable "fail" were these mittens my mom made. If memory serves me, and often it doesn't, someone gave her this Naugahyde on one side and fuzzy stuff on the other fabric. She spent hour cutting our and sewing mittens out of the stuff. They were big and clumsy. Ours were somewhat mismatched because she gave the best pairs away. Mom says her brothers and their families were not impressed, but they were my favorite mittens in the bitter winds of January through February in Central Oregon. They saved my hands while carrying firewood and walking to the bus stop. Mom may have thought those mittens were a fail, but in my eyes they were a win... kept your hands warm and no one at school would ever steal them.
Memory number three: stocking stuffers. As I was driving from Salem to home I noticed a bag of potato chips left behind from one of the many "clean-out-the car" assignments. Mom knew someone that would give her potato chips every Christmas. We didn't often get processed food. Potato chips were reserved for my dad. Bologna was something you would for for your birthday. Really. So getting a bag of potato chips in your stocking was a great treat. I ate a chip in honor of that memory today.
When my little sister got married she didn't register that she would need to come up with her own stockings for her new family. To save her my mom started emptying cupboards. Craig ended up with bacon bits in his stocking. I wonder if he still gets bacon bit.
I still give undies, socks, a toothbrush, soap and deodorant to my kids in their stockings. If these items were good enough for my mom to give us as kids, then they are great for my kids now. I do try to give them something fun as well, but tradition is tradition. Time to go to the store for some chips for the stockings.