Christmas Stockings

"This year start or add a family tradition."

The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year, probably because of the traditions. Traditions such as Christmas music and colorful decorations make everything a little brighter I think it also makes people a little happier.

All over the world, one can find interesting Christmas traditions. In Australia, “Krampus” visits the towns along with Santa. The Japanese enjoy dinner from KFC. In Norway, many hide their brooms before going to bed. In Germany, Nikolaus (German spelling) travels around on a donkey.   

When I look back on my childhood, Christmas was my favorite time of year, not because of the presents but, because of the family traditions. As an example for many years each of us kids made our own ornaments, many of which I still have.  

Like many homes in the country, we have many Christmas traditions; a decorated tree, a gift exchange, eggnog, Kathy even decorates our house with 25 Santas and then decorates our piano with a tiny snowy village complete with a frozen lake made from tin foil. My favorite Santa was given to me years ago by my grandmother, before she passed. This Santa has decorated a “Watts home” for 66 years. Did you know in 1951, (when this Santa was purchased) Santa did not wear a red jacket and black belt, he wore a gold jacket and white belt?

When my kids were young I would wrap their presents in newspaper to save money. For special presents I would wrap them with the comic section so it would be colorful. Years later, I did not need to be as concerned with a budget and I stopped doing this. My kids insisted I go back to wrapping them in newspaper, a tradition was born.  

Another tradition in my family is hanging stockings on the banister in our home, trimmed with garland. This year, we have 32 stockings one for each member of our immediate family which includes one for our dog (Alley). Each year Santa fills them with homemade cookies and other small gifts. The grandkids get more excited about the stockings than any other single gift.

LESSON FROM THE BENCH: This year start or add a family tradition. Also, from my family to yours have a very Merry Christmas and for my Jewish friends Happy Hanukkah. I hope your holidays are filled with many family traditions, joy, happiness and eggnog. 

Donald Watts is the Manistee Precinct judge of the Maricopa County Justice Court in Arizona. His web page is donaldwatts.Info