15 January 2012

2011 CM9: A Tangerine in the Toe

Being the youngest of three, I never remember believing in Santa Claus.  Older sisters tend to do that for you.  They pave the way in school so your teachers love you before they know you.  They look out for you and give you hard-earned advice.  They take the brunt of your parents' discipline leaving you to coast through your adolescence.  But they also tend to ever so slightly tarnish the magic of make-believe.  I count myself among the fortunate youngest siblings of the world in that my sisters humored me more often than not.  And when they were being rotten, either by my blind faith in them or by their own convincing, I believed that we were just playing, and I loved every second.

When Christmas time came around, I still wrote letters to Santa asking for presents, but I knew my parents were behind it all.  Still, the tradition in my family somehow landed in this happy compromise between reality and deception: all the big presents wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper were from Mom and Dad.  But the stocking presents and everything wrapped in white tissue paper in neat piles under our stockings were from Santa.

Now, for those of you who didn't grow up with stockings or never welcomed the illusion of Santa into your home, let me tell you: there is a precise science to the way a stocking is filled:
  • There is always candy involved.  This includes candy inside the stocking and 2-3 candy canes hung over the edge.  There is also usually a toothbrush to compensate for all the sweets.
  • Presents are wrapped haphazardly with white tissue paper, closed with one piece of tape, and labeled with your first initial.  You can usually see through the wrapping to the present.  Because really, Santa has way too much to do to worry about pretty wrapping jobs for your stocking.
  • There's some saying that originated somewhere about having a "tangerine in the toe."  For some reason, in preparing and opening stockings, we always say it, and it's very important.  But we use clementines instead because they're better.  And we just pretend to not know or notice the difference because it's just tradition, and that's how it's done.

And all that preamble is leading up to the fact that this was Judah's first Christmas.  And if you hadn't noticed, I am very particular when it comes to tradition, especially at Christmas.  So there was no way Judah's first Christmas wouldn't include a stocking.  So I stayed up way too late on Christmas Eve finishing this for him:

The front is pieced using a technique called crazy quilting.  It's probably my favorite way to sew because it doesn't require precision in cutting, piecing or sewing.  It's kind of like putting together a puzzle or a collage.  Once the top was done, I embroidered Judah on it.

Then I sewed the top to the lining and a layer of batting and did the same with the backing, lining, and another layer of batting.  Then I stitched the front and back together by hand.  To finish, I stitched on the gold trim, also by hand.

When I was in Jersey for Thanksgiving, I raided my mom's fabric stash so that Judah's stocking would match Jason's and mine.
With our lack of mantle, we had to hang our stockings on the kitchen cart.

 And here's Judah opening his stocking on Christmas morning:

J is for Judah!!

Don't worry--the candy canes were wrapped, and we took them away promptly after we were done taking pictures.

While we were opening presents, Judah stopped every so often, gave us a look like "are you sure it's okay for me to do this?" and then went right back to the paper.  I guess all of those, "Judah! Stop eating that wrapping paper!"s of the preceding weeks sunk in enough to make him hesitant.

He did this totally on his own.  The boy was made for product placement.  We really need to cash in on that.
And of course, the tangerine in the toe.

Merry Christmas, Judah.  Welcome to the family!