Sprite Writes. Please visit her site to check out the list of other Christmas traditions from bloggers around the world.
Totoro Family Stockings:
Have you ever experienced a time when you innocently started something rather simple that over time mushroomed into something much bigger than you ever envisioned? Such is the plight of Totoro Christmas stockings.
See, I have a December birthday. I don't mind it so much now, but as a child, I hated having my birthday so close to Christmas. I had to wait 355 days until I could open presents - and that seemed like an eternity. In my mind, if I could prolong Christmas, then the wait wouldn't be unbearable.
When I started this tradition, I thought it would last a few years - just long enough for the youngest child to stop believing. However, that did not happen. As the children grew, I noticed they would excitedly tell their friends of this tradition - and then become incredulous when they discovered this same Christmas magic did not happen in other homes. I decided to continue until they graduated high school.
My husband and I used to wrap the stocking gifts on Christmas Eve night - after the kids had gone upstairs to bed. We would watch It's a Wonderful Life, sip a glass of wine, and wrap like little elves.
At this point, however, this simple holiday tradition has grown to include 8 stockings, with the certainty of more in the next couple of years. It takes several hours - spread over the course of 2-3 days - to wrap all the presents. It is indeed a labor of love.
And while the children know the contents - toiletries, mani-pedi supplies, lip balm, candy, etc. - they are still excited to open the gifts, and I must confess, I still love that makes the holiday last just a little bit longer.