Saturday, November 26, 2011

The (Five) Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care

In keeping with family tradition, this being the Saturday after Thanksgiving, today was the day we put up our Christmas tree and decorated the house for the holidays. Since we perform in the Reagle Christmas show every year, if we don’t do it this weekend, it doesn’t get done, and certainly it doesn’t get done in time for the cast party we always host. And since we decorate fairly elaborately, it’s pretty much a whole-day affair.

Yesterday we went to the farm and picked out our Christmas tree and brought it home, then hauled all the boxes of decorations down from the attic, and last night we went to the Waltham Treelighting ceremony, so we were certainly in the holiday mood. We started the day by running (or, in my case, walking, or in Ryan and Katie’s cases, riding) in the weekly Fresh Pond race in Cambridge. It was a beautiful day to be outside in the fresh air, and it invigorated all of us for the busy day. While the rest of the troops took a nap, I organized the boxes and started a few small tasks, like tying red bows on each of the candles in the dining room chandelier and setting up the manger scene, complete with the lamb up in the hayloft where Rosemary decided he should go so many years ago. When Herb got up, he put up the tree and did some of the heavier lifting and the projects requiring height. And then, we found the stockings.

When Herb and I got married, we bought three new, matching stockings and had our names embroidered on them: Herb, Sandy, and Rosie. The next year, Ryan had just been born, so Herb bought another matching stocking and had it embroidered with Ryan’s name in the same color and script. And in hopeful anticipation of another child, he also bought a second matching stocking. And even as I am writing this, he and Ryan are at the mall, finding a shop that will match the color and script of Ryan’s stocking and embroider Katie’s name on it.

So this year, five stockings will be hung by the chimney with care. And as I look at those five stockings, I think about those same stockings being hung together for many Christmases to come. Probably the five will dwindle down to four as Rosemary graduates from college and starts a life of her own and a family of her own. Eventually, it may be back down to three and then to two as Ryan and Katie do the same. But in my mind’s eye, I think that every Christmas from now on I will always see the perfect set of five stockings.

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