The great Christmas stocking debate returns

December 17, 2013 | Advent

Okay, here’s the question of the day: Is the Christmas stocking important or irrelevant? This debate rages at our house each Christmas season. For me, the Christmas stocking is key when it comes to under-the-tree goodies. For Dennis, it’s completely unnecessary and incomprehensible. He says he didn’t get a Christmas stocking as a child, which I think might qualify as child abuse in some states. I, on the other hand, continue to get a stocking from my dad and step-mom. Granted, it doesn’t come in an actual stocking anymore; it’s in a Christmas gift bag. But my dad always hands it to me and says, “And here’s your stocking.”

In my family, the stocking was critical Christmas booty. It wasn’t filled with extravagant gifts, but that didn’t take away from the excitement. Sure, you’d get toothpaste and lip balm and a new hairbrush. But you also might find a little gem in between all the practical flotsam and jetsam — a candle, scented bath soaps, a little piece of costume jewelry, or, better than anything else, some little trinket that didn’t require a lot of cash but did require a lot of thought. The stocking is where creative givers can really shine.

One year, when Dennis was nearing his Christmas-stocking threshold, we considered dropping it, or, as he recalls, I said, “FINE, we won’t do stockings!” Which I can only assume was accompanied by crossed arms and a furrowed brow. But that plan quickly fell by the wayside, maybe because I turned up the holiday heat or maybe because Dennis realized that come February or March he might wishing he had that stash of  shaving cream, razors, Goo Gone, or some new little gadget — like the meat tenderizer he got in his stocking one year or the rubber mallet he got the year before. Yeah, I know, what’s with all the gifts used for pounding? I might need to rethink that.

For me the Christmas stocking always was and always will be the best part of Christmas gift-giving. I’m not looking for anything exotic or luxurious under the tree. I’m looking for a little creativity, which is way more difficult and time-consuming when it’s done right. But, really, it can’t be done wrong as long as it makes the person smile. Around here that usually happens when I inevitably buy Dennis the wrong kind of shaving cream. The first time it was an accident — similar cans but different brands. But now it’s a challenge. You wouldn’t believe the crazy kinds of shaving cream they make these days.

Dennis tells me he already has everything for my stocking. Uh oh. I don’t have one single thing for his. The pressure is on.

So what’s the Christmas stocking philosophy at your house? Yay or Nay?

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