My husband is the youngest of five siblings. By the time we met, his brothers and sisters were all married and had children. Long before I became part of the family, my mother-in-law had made Christmas stockings for the mantle. A white cuff with the name spelled out in green lettering, topped each red felt stocking. Even though we all had our own homes, she continued to hang each one. My name joined the Neely Christmas display. That first year, seventeen stockings hung over her fireplace. As time marched on, we had three sons added to the mantle. Nieces and nephews married and had children of their own.

When the mantle shelf became insufficient for the number of family members, a board was added so it held two rows of stockings. It gave proof to the old adage, there’s always room for one more.

But time marches on for more reasons than Christmas stockings. At the age of 90, my mother-in-law journeyed to her final home. As we dispersed of her belongings, each family took their own stockings. I suspended five stockings over our fireplace for a few years. My son married and it became six. I remember my daughter-in-law’s joyful exclamation when she walked in the room. “I have a stocking!” Well of course you do. You’re a Neely. I now hang eight each Christmas. The red felt and green letters are ready in my craft room because—there’s always room for one more.

I would love for you to share a Christmas tradition with us.



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