Di Rayburn – General

Stocking Fillers.

Stocking fillers have changed a bit since my day. They used to be small and inexpensive with the bigger presents in a pillowcase if we were lucky.

Gran would give my sister and I a couple of her stockings that had been darned so many times they were lumpy and hurt her feet, and on Christmas morning along with the presents, in the toe we’d find some unshelled nuts, an orange or tangerine and a few freshly minted copper coins.

Nowadays you could go bankrupt filling the leg of a pair of tights with the sort of things teenagers go for and I can foresee the day when a computer will fit snugly into the toe of one of dad’s old socks.

I wonder how many of you remember the ready filled stockings you could buy during my childhood and through to the early seventies. Made of net, with a red or green border sewn around the edges and different contents for boys and girls, every year we’d find one on the end of our beds. They were a source of endless fascination to me and Christmas wouldn’t have been the same without one.

Produced somewhere in the Far East, the stocking for girls would contain things like a small cellulose kewpie doll, a miniature wooden bat and ball game, a small rubber ball, a wooden spinning top, a skipping rope for midgets and a couple of thin comic books featuring weird looking characters.

One year I assume the factory they were assembled in made a mistake and all the speech balloons in the comics were written in a foreign language. It kept me amused for hours trying to guess what the characters were saying.

With the advent of plastic toys from Hong Kong the contents of the stocking became a bit more adventurous, but also more flimsy. They rarely survived the hazard of disappearing under piles of wrapping paper and being trodden on as Dad went around our bedroom with a cardboard box, picking up after us and then burnt the wrapping paper, nut shells and anything else that was combustible on the fire. But not the comics! I always made sure they didn’t go up in flames before I’d read them thoroughly.

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