Wednesday, October 2, 2013


It’s the 2nd of October. What am I thinking about? Christmas stockings. That’s right, I said Christmas.

But, Jamie, we’re barely out of September. That’s ridiculous. I just hate it when stores put out Christmas decorations before we even have Halloween. Wahhh, wahhh, wahh….STICK IT!

Do you know why I am doing this? Because I’ve missed the boat on every holiday since Henning was born and before all that is holy, I’m not missing this one.

Technically, I am giving myself a free pass for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. St. Patrick’s Day because it’s not fun unless you’re Irish or drink green beer and Easter because it was like three weeks after someone cut a baby out of my midsection. Plus, it’s really unnecessary to have an Easter basket for an infant, and it’s a pain in the ass to put them in dressy clothes. Looking back, all I can do is think, “Why don’t I have a picture of my kid in some bunny ears or lying next to a sheep?”

Halloween was going to be my chance to get back in the game. I obsessed over it all through August and just couldn’t make a decision. Truthfully, I was leaning towards Henning as Sweet Pea because Pete looks so much like Popeye, but I don’t know that enough people would get the reference. Then I decided we needed one of those baby animal costumes, but only a weird one. Like a baby goat. Then I came to my senses and realized that being without teeth or the ability to walk kind of limits Henning’s Halloween fun. So I figured I wouldn’t waste a good costume idea on a year the kid won’t even remember and just pick up something at Old Navy or Carters. I watched their Halloween email notices come, and thought “There’s almost two months until Halloween. I don’t need to order that yet.“ Then I saw the sale emails and thought, “It’s only September. I don’t need to order that yet.” In fact, it was at this point that my mother called to ask if I had thought about a stocking for Henning and my VERY WORDS to her were, “I haven’t even gotten him a Halloween costume yet. I don’t need to worry about that yet.”

YES. YES YOU DO need to worry about that. In fact, as soon as the stick turns blue, you should go on and just get yourself a Chasing Fireflies catalog and open that puppy up. Because mamas be crazy. Now, when it’s time to order a Halloween costume, all the good places are sold out. Old Navy, Carters, nothing but the leftovers from their stock of orange onesies. You know what’s left? Pottery Barn. Pottery Barn has greeeeeaaaat costumes. Pottery Barn has both Max AND the monster from Where the Wild Things Are and we read that book every night of my life. However, Pottery Barn reeeeeaaaaallly likes those costumes and I just cannot make myself pay $80 for a baby Halloween costume, free shipping or not.

Of course, I could still find all sorts of costumes at actual Halloween places and on, but they all look like that type or rayon/polyester that would catch on fire if it got too close to a hot cup of coffee, and I am a-feared of stuff like that. What we will probably do is obey the 836 people who have emailed, texted, and sent pictures of kids to let me know that bald babies seem to somewhat resemble Charlie Brown, and buy a yellow t-shirt and a black Sharpie.

Anyhow, this is how I wound up spending an alarming number of hours considering Christmas stockings. My family has matching knitted Christmas stockings that we have used since the early 80’s. Because stockings are for LIFE. Only Communists buy new stockings every year. (Communists who celebrate Christmas are kind of rare, I guess.) These stockings were very popular in town and I know several families who use the same ones – one friend of my mother had to ask the lady to come out of retirement so her last child could have a matching stocking. I used to think that if I ever had a kid, I would want him to have a stocking like ours, but that lady has been dead for years.

Enter etsy. I was looking at stockings and making a ridiculously large list of favorites when I saw my brother’s stocking. Turns out these stockings were not a LaGrange 80’s fad, but became a trend in the 1950’s and never went away. They are from Mary Maxim and you can still buy similar patterns on her website, although I don’t think the newer ones are as kitschy.

The fact that these stockings still exist – and are actually starting to sell out in some Etsy stores because I am obviously not the only 35 year old with an overdeveloped sense of nostalgia -  has resulted in an embarrassing amount of pondering: Do I get Henning a matching stocking? I could get him one in red or white since all ours are in green and it would mark him as a new generation. Of course, then I would have to get Pete one so we would all match. Wait – I don’t even have my stocking. Mom has my stocking. I wonder if she’s going to fill stockings for Pete and Brandon this year. Maybe I should get Pete a stocking for over there. Still, those stockings are kind of fugly except for being steeped in tradition so maybe I should just pick out something new for Henning. Especially since those stockings are red and green and all my Christmas stuff looks like Dr. Seuss and Whoville. But then what if Lulu or Mitchell has babies and they get the old school stockings and I am sorry I got these?

GOOD GRIEF. I realize this is ridiculous and I’m driving myself nuts. Although I did inquire into the stocking future of my newlywed sister’s non-existent, hypothetical, future children, and she assured me that she would be finding her own stockings. BUT, then came the Great Saga of Personalization. As you see, those old stockings have the name knitted right into them, which is really how stockings should be. But I can’t find a colorful, Dr. Seuss, Whoville, knitted stocking that has a name. And, obviously, all stockings should be knitted. There are rules to this sort of thing. So now I am stuck. I have, of course, found the perfect Whoville stocking with no name included.  WHAT IS A GIRL TO DO????

Maybe I can tack an initial onto the toe…..