Thursday, October 28, 2010


I am a creature of habit. I am never happier than when I am living within the confines of knowing what to expect and repeating the rituals of my daily life over and over again.  The knowledge of every morning beginning with coffee and a quick email check soothes my soul.  The practice of turning out lights on my way upstairs at night (and whispering my prayers as I go) grounds me in a way that I cannot quite explain.  There is an orderliness to a ritualistic life that gives me enormous peace.

Given all that, it is no surprise that family traditions are some of my most fiercely protected memories and passions.  What would life be without turkey at Aunt Jane's Thanksgiving every year?  Would the world stop turning if Mom never again hosted her Christmas Eve party?  I shudder to think.  Candlelit Christmas Eve services and stockings before gifts - these things matter to me.  They are the way things have always been and, thus, they make me feel secure.


When my Grandma was a young mother herself, she found a knitting pattern for a customizable Christmas Stocking.  She made them for herself, her 6 children and her husband.  Gradually, those children grew, married, and had their own children.  Each one of these new additions received their special stocking, replicas of the originals, knitted with the same pattern, colors, hands.  The grandchildren grew, married, and started having their own babies!  More stockings.

 By this time, Grandma was getting up there in age, and arthritis was making it difficult to knit on the size needles required for the pattern.  She still soldiered on, enlisting some help from her daughter.  That is, until this year.  Grandma lost Grandpsy and moved to a new place.  Her knitting seems to have taken a hit, but with 2 new great grandbabies, the demand for stockings never ends.  Who will knit them?

Faced with the thought of these precious babies not receiving their Christmas stockings nearly kept me up at night.  And then I thought:  I could knit them.

Yes I have a lot of work for my own children's Christmas, but it just seemed wrong to me for this to be the first year that no new stockings made their way to new owners.   I know an important aspect of these stockings has been that Grandma made them, but maybe these babies would be fine with Cousin/Aunt Lyd knitting them instead.

Yesterday I was thrilled when my Aunt brought by a bag of yarn and an ancient knitting pattern - several times photocopied and nearly impossible to make out.  I pulled out my own children's stockings to refer to, and began.

So here I am, young mama, knitting stockings from a 50 year old pattern for the people I love.  Who can say but that I'll keep on knitting them until my hands grow old and weary, and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to pass on the tradition to someone else as well.

I must say, keeping a tradition alive is a lovely feeling.


What are some of your dearly held family traditions?

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  1. I love this! I am all about tradition too.

    What a great feeling to be able to knit these, and keep your family tradition alive.

    My grandma always made our family tea-ring for Christmas morning breakfast, just as her grandma did. When my grandpa died, my grandma too moved away. And so I carried on the tea-ring tradition, baking away, caking my kitchen in flour while doing so. While they might not of been the most moist the first year, I am getting it down. Now year 3 of doing this, my family said that "they are almost as good as grandmas" which is just bliss to me. It's the little things : ). And her handwritten recipe, now tucked in a protective sheet cover to preserve the memory of it all, makes me smile. So funny how I treasure this recipe so much.

  2. What a beautiful tradition! I love it.


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