Good things come in small packages in my stocking

Published 11:36 pm Thursday, December 24, 2015

By Pam Stone



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Oh, Lawd, I am so full. Let me ‘splain:


Paul and I don’t exchange gifts beneath the tree for Christmas anymore, but we do exchange stockings and you’d be surprised by what exquisite things can fit into a stocking: diamond earrings, a platinum money clip, the key to a new Mercedes…


Oh, wait … sorry. For a moment I thought I was Joel Osteen’s wife. My bad.


But since we don’t really need anything (except another horse and a new saddle and trailer for that horse), this year we declared that what fills our stockings must be readily edible or something easily used up (like cologne or hay for that new horse) so that we don’t have more stuff.


Now, Paul has an adventurous palate (he’s the one guy you’ll see at a sushi bar ingesting every slimy offering while the rest of us recoil in horror and tentatively order cucumber rolls) and enjoys European tidbits that take him back to his Dutch youth, so I had a high old time secretly stuffing his ‘Tigger’ stocking (did I mention he is 57 years old?) with jars of imported spicy brown mustard, Scottish marmalade, Colombian dark chocolate, Belgian cookies – essentially, everything within reach at the new Aldi’s that opened in Boiling Springs – and lastly, trying to cram a 22 ounce micro-brewery bottle of Indian Pale Ale down Tigger’s neck.


Not to be undone, I received the ubiquitous bars of Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar, as well as the wrapped chocolate orange that I will snivel like a five year old about for 364 days if MIA from each year’s stocking, and four tiny bottles of champagne, dark chocolate filled with brandy and six applications of Frontline for the dogs and cats.


You laugh, but that stuff’s not cheap. And, abiding by the rules, it was instantly used and I’ll have you know I haven’t seen a flea or itched in a week.


Note to self: Next year, maybe dive into the champagne after the Frontline. The back of my neck still burns…


There is absolutely nothing in these Christmas rules that requires all stocking fare to be consumed within 12 hours, but somehow, it did, even after Paul’s Christmas dinner of his signature Cornish Salmon and leek pie with potato crust, roasted root vegetables and my annual attempt at my mother’s traditional Yorkshire fruitcake, which, this year, somehow ended up looking like, despite the Bundt pan, a football. We said grace, closing the prayer with the desire to “keep us mindful of the needs of others,” then promptly forgot about the needs of others as we scarfed everything.


(In utter humiliation, I will be taking two, instead of one, bag of groceries to church for our local outreach pantry, today.)


It is said the average American gains something like seven pounds over the holidays, and even if you do your best to wave away another piece of pie or helping of sweet potato souffl√©, here comes your neighbor, trudging over with a festive paper plate covered with cling film holding a dozen pieces of fudge in place, or those red and green Hershey’s kisses mysteriously showing up in your cubicle.


This is the only time of year I muse about possibly changing my denomination. Many Seventh-day Adventists are strict vegetarians and don’t consume junk and because much of Christmas (the date, tree, mistletoe, bodyslamming at Walmart) is considered to reek of pagan origins, the Jehovah Witnesses don’t celebrate Christmas. Or birthdays. That’s gotta save you 20,000 calories, right there. And a lot of them cycle everywhere. In fact, every Witness that has ever come to my house has looked pretty lean.


Or, I could simply just not gorge like a pig. And that will be my resolve for next Christmas.


(But that doesn’t include the giant, red velvet, two pound, heart shaped box that will arrive in eight weeks….)