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Dec 4, 2011 09:27 AM

What was in your Christmas stocking growing-up?

What type of treats and possibly fruits were in your Christmas stocking?
Which items did you look forward to?--Specific brands? Seasonal candies?
Which did you discard?
(Is there anything you wished would be in your stocking that was not?)

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  1. As far as I can recall the only edible item ever was a tangerine in the toe of the stocking.
    My mom was a bit of a control freak regarding sweets - and their absence would not have seemed at all odd to me.
    I never wished sweets to be there, probably because it never occurred to me that they could have been.
    But now you've raised the subject I can see that I was deprived of a childhood right and I shall be seeking therapy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Peg

      LIke Peg, the only thing I recall is a tangerine. We had post World War 2 rationing of sugar until I was nearly five and I reckon the scarcity in those formative years has meant I've never developed much of a sweet tooth.

    2. My mother always put in three oranges symbolizing wealth (See: Traditional English pawnshop sign) and nuts symbolizing prosperity as well as some chocolates and at least one candy cane. (I was never a fan of either as I don't have a sweet tooth.)

      There were small "stocking stuffer" gifts, too, chosen for me by "Santa." I was not expected to share these with my sister and brother. One year I got a watch. Mmmm...perhaps that's why I still treasure small treats.

      And I always looked forward to the Danish butter cookies that still come in a round tin:)

      One year my brother got coal in his stocking. Yes, he was quite a handful as a child!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Seeker19104

        Thanks for bringing back some great memories -- me sister, brother and I received the same sort of things in our stockings and until I read your post it never occurred to me that there was a tradition behind them.

      2. First of all, we did not have a "Christmas stocking." We used an old sock, or if we were allowed, one of our father's socks. We usually got "Necco" Wafers, gum and maybe an orange. I cannot say that I looked forward to anything in the sock. We were more interested in what Santa was bringing. I grew up in the 50's without a TV until I was 12yo. We were not influenced by TV ads. In looking back it seems like it was a simpler time. Dolls, trains, skates were the treasured items.

        4 Replies
        1. re: barb2007

          tangarine fillers, some toffees, candy cane and the rest included small games, toys, school supplies. I remember it was fun as part of christmas ritual but we were consumers at a small age, waiting to see all the presents. Now I wish for less consumerism at the holiday period, and we have as a group decided to curtail gift purchases to focus on other parts of christmas celebrations.

          1. re: barb2007

            My mother used a sock when she was a child as well. They didn't have designated socks, just picked one out of the drawer on Christmas eve and according to my mother's telling of the story, my grandmother always had to remind her to pick one that was clean, and without holes. The church also gave everyone "Christmas bags" after the Christmas pageant every year. Each brown paper lunch bag was filled with an apple, an orange, a bag of peanuts, and a chocolate bar. Most churches in the area still give the bags to kids, and deliver them to elderly church members.

            1. re: mpjmph

              I recently read a story someplace about Christmas traditions and there was the story from an elderly man about getting the paper sack at church with in the shell peanuts, an apple, an orange and ribbon candy. We got the exact same thing at church when I was a kid. I moved away from my hometown many years ago but I wonder if they still do that at the church I went to as a kid.

              1. re: John E.

                My family is from Eastern North Carolina, if that helps localize the tradition. It's deeply seated enough here that the church groups on campus at my alma mater (and now employer) let parents buy them for their kids/students during fall exams.

          2. I don't recall all that much about what my brothers and I got from Santa in our Christmas stockings. As we got to be older I do remember that's where we got underwear and socks. We also usually got an orange and an onion. The oranges were because apparently that's what my parents got in their stockings and it was considered quite a treat in the Depression. As I recall, the onion was in lieu of a lump of coal. A lump of coal was not really available to Santa in our area and as I recall it was Santa's way of telling us that although we were pretty good boys, there was always room for improvement. I don't think the onions started showing up until long after the actually belief there is a Santa was over.

            19 Replies
            1. re: John E.

              We didn't get the onions (my sisters and I were perfect angels every year ;), but we always got the orange in the toe of the stocking. And mom did say it came from their days as children of the depression, when an orange in winter was quite a luxury. We didn't really understand it as kids, spoiled kids who had fresh oranges year round.

              As far as other food items in the stocking: there was always a Christmas-themed chocolate and a candy cane and those clear taffies (barley pops?) in Christmas shapes/colors.

              1. re: gaffk

                I don't remember too many specifics anymore about what was in the Christmas stocking. Santa always brought the toys that we asked him for (well, maybe not all of them), the under-the-tree gifts always came from family. I do remember, or more precisely, i remember my mother telling the story about how when I was about 5 years old I changed my mind about what I wanted Santa to bring. Apparently, I changed my mind on about December 23rd and on Christmas morning I took one look at my stocking and I said, "That's not my stuff". My kids used to find that story amusing when my mother told it to them.

                1. re: gaffk

                  I remember lollypops like that! Green red or gold, teaberry, cinnamon and not sure what else, but they were hard as a rock and took forever to eat.

                  1. re: Island

                    Yes, those lollipops were still around months later. And yet I still buy them every year. Ah nostalgia.

                    1. re: gaffk

                      I haven't seen them since I was a kid in PA. Maybe they're a PA or East Coast thing. Ah nostalgia for sure, cuz now I want one!

                        1. re: gaffk

                          Thank you! I never knew they were called barley lollipops. The cut rock candy and hard candy straws I see on that site often accompanied the linty ribbon candy in my stocking.

                    2. re: Island

                      We would also get an orange, and those old fashioned lollipops, they were in odd shapes too like a boot, a glove… there’s fair that we go to at a Mennonite farm every fall, and one of the vendors makes them still from those antique molds… Love them! (though ours never came in flavors)
                      We sometimes got the lifesaver books but always, ALWAYS chocolate coins!

                      1. re: cgarner

                        Every year my aunt buys us the GENERIC lifesaver books-blech! We all appreciate the thought but I'm 46 and I wish she would stop.

                        1. re: dmjordan

                          Does not sound like you appreciate the thought. Years from now, when she is not around to give you them, you will think back and reminisce about how you joked and lauged about those lifesaver books.

                          1. re: wadejay26

                            TRUE My Nan and Pop used to give us each a chocolate Santa with our Christmas presents... the chocolate was TERRIBLE, even as a kid I knew it... but it's just one of those things that we miss about our grandparents every Christmas.

                            1. re: wadejay26

                              I actually SAID that I appreciate the thought. We still joke a laugh about these books and she is still alive and kicking and still buying the generic livesaver books. The only reason I wish she would stop is that I hate wasting food and I throw them out every year.

                              1. re: dmjordan

                                Well, this Christmas Eve my aunt proudly announced that on Black Friday she scored the real Lifesavers books! We all hooted and had a good laugh. She even knows the generics aren't as good. It's all in good fun.

                                1. re: dmjordan

                                  Funny! You have me craving one of those. Any newfangled Lifesaver flavors in there?

                                  1. re: Island

                                    Nah, but I was so excited to get the tropical fruit. That is never included in the generics.

                                      1. re: jbsiegel

                                        I got Life Saver candy canes this year, all tropical. The pineapple were the best!

                                        1. re: coll

                                          Life Saver candy canes?? Never saw those and sad I missed them if the came in pineapple! I like the coconut Lifesavers in the tropical mix.

                                          1. re: Island

                                            I got them at Walgreens I think, there were a dozen of six different flavors and colors.

                  2. There was always an orange filling up the toe section and a candy cane over the top. For many years, we'd get the "story book" packages of Life Savers or a net bag of gold coins. The rest were little knick-knacks or doodads that Mom picked up through the year.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: tracylee

                      Your post brought back a vague memory from grade school. We must have done some sort of small gift exchange with a spending limit. I remember those Lfesaver books were a favorite, probably by the mothers as well because it was an easy solution to the gift buying problem.

                      1. re: tracylee

                        Santa occasionally left storybook lifesavers in our stockings, and those were by far my favorite candy present. We always got oranges, and usually we got those mini candy canes that come attached in columns (I'm having trouble describing them, the wrappers were attached end to end). I never really cared about the candy canes.

                        1. re: rusty_s

                          We used those little candy canes to stir our hot chocolate. Mom always stocked up on them at Christmas and we had minty hot chocolate all winter.

                          Think I'll go out and get those little candy canes again; haven't had minty hot chocolate in years.