Monday, December 19, 2011

The Story of the Stockings

I don't know if I've told this story on the blog and quite frankly, the way this month is playing out it's probably the only post this poor space is going to get and should be a good one. It's one of my favorite stories to tell at Christmas because it puts things in perspective and it's the reason for one of my favorite traditions.

Rewind eight years ago. Justin and I were destitute newlyweds. He was working two jobs and going to school because my immigration work authorization hadn't come through and we had next to nothing in the old bank account. Of course, Christmas was looming and we were stressed over that. I think Justin's *big* present that year was a magazine subscription. Like seriously, we were poor.

Not that Christmas is all about the presents and the money, but we all know what stress can do to the season. I tried to act like I didn't care and had fun decorating my tiny tree. We didn't buy enough ribbon and didn't have the money to buy more, so the ribbon didn't go all the way around the tree -- we just wrapped it back and forth across the front and made do.

One thing I was really bummed about that year was the lack of a stocking. I could handle minimal presents, but in my family, the stocking is one of the best parts of Christmas. My mom went all out and stuffed them so full that the presents would spill out onto the floor and everything was wrapped, even a pack of gum. The stockings are easily my favorite part of Christmas and I was sad that it just wasn't in the newlywed budget.

I was talking to my mom a couple of days before Christmas and I mentioned the fact that we'd be going without stockings and she wouldn't have it. She called me a few hours later to let me know that she was wiring money down to me so we could go buy stocking stuffers for each other and I was so excited.

We received the money on Christmas Eve and since we only had one car, we had to go to the store together. We split up with our carts and arranged to meet back at the car in an hour. I still remember ducking through aisles to try and avoid Justin as I loaded up on all of the usual stocking stuffers and then trying to hide them from each other as we piled the bags into our Jeep Wrangler.

Anyway, it was such a simple and tiny thing... I mean, I think we spent $50 a piece, but those stockings made my first Christmas married and away from home so much more familiar. I don't remember what Justin got me that year, but I remember that I had a stuffed stocking on Christmas morning.

Now, we don't have to scrimp at Christmas time like we once did, but we still reserve stocking shopping for Christmas Eve. We always head down to the store in one car early in the morning and do the same routine, arranging to meet after an hour and sneaking bags into the car while the other isn't looking. It always helps me to remember to be grateful at Christmas time, to slow down and remember that a lot of the time, it's the small things that count. I think about being poor newlyweds and how happy we were with a four foot tree, a few yards of ribbon and full stockings.

Anyway, this is one of those stories that I'll tell my kids (when they're old enough, of course) so I wanted to have it written down somewhere. For richer or poorer, as long as we have a few dollars to fill up each other's stockings, we're doing OK.


Justin said...

I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else.. Unless that someone else keeps our microwave cabinet clean.

Jae said...

WHAT!? It is clean.

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