Last year, with my husband’s job coming to an end just before the holiday season, we told our kids we would be having a “Little House” Christmas. It was the most positive way we could think of telling them not to expect much.
While planning for some creative shopping and homemade gifts, I was stumped as to what to do about stockings. Some of the gifts we were putting under the tree were about the size of what we would normally put in a stocking, and we certainly didn’t want to dip into our severely limited Christmas budget to get them items that would be quickly discarded. Going without a stocking wasn’t an option either as family tradition dictated that stockings would be opened on Christmas Eve (with the under-the-tree gifts waiting until Christmas Eve.) Granted, family tradition also dictated that cookies would be in the stockings, but what else? We knew our kids wouldn’t get as excited about an orange as Laura did.
Suddenly, I had an idea. “Kids,” I announced. “For our stockings this year, we are going to write each other notes.” I almost expected a groan, but instead I sensed a bit of excitement.
Christmas eve came and we sat in a circle taking turns to pull out one item from our stocking and reading the notes out loud. There was quite a variety: lengthy sentimental letters (those were from me), poems, meaningful pictures, and cards with short notes. Tucked in beneath the notes were a couple surprise toys. It was less than we had ever had in our stockings before–and yet it was more. Our hearts were full of joy as we read the words of love family members. Yet, I didn’t realize what a success this was until my teenage son declared, “This was the best Christmas Eve ever!”
So now we have a new Christmas Eve tradition: stockings stuffed with love letters. As we have found, there is no more meaningful gift than letting your family know how much you love them.