There are traditions that carry through the generations- no matter the distance, no matter the time. From Austria to California, from before I can remember, to this Christmas morning soon to come- stockings are one such tradition.
My family’s stockings have all been painstakingly created stitch by stitch, sequin by sequin by my aunt. They hung in our house each holiday- added as we arrived, our spouses arrived, our own children arrived. Each carefully chosen and created for its owner.
Creeping down the 16 steps each Christmas morning in an eternal quest to be the first, our stockings would be perched in the corner of the couch. It was as if the magic of Santa hung in the air around those bountiful scraps of felt.
Long past the age of the innocent magic of Christmas, it came time to remove the stocking from the wall to a new wall. Or so my sister thought. Thus the keeper of the stocking was born. My aunt, prompted by the keeper, once again found herself painstakingly sewing felt scraps into beautiful stockings. For you see, the set could not be broken up. Each stocking on the wall got a match to go live on the other wall. Its partner got made twice- once for the keeper’s wall and once for the partner’s wall.
As littles were born to their bigs- two stockings were made by the same fingers that to date has sewed at least 40 stockings. Ones for the keeper and ones for the owner.
The thing about the keeper’s wall of stockings is that it feels like home. I’m forever grateful to the seamstress whose work enables me to continue the magic of Christmas morning stockings in my own home. The thing about traditions is that someone needs to carry them on. So, dear family of mine, I call keeper.