The day before Christmas Eve, and all through the land,
people were scurrying to find the right ham.
The lights are all up, yet the stockings, they cry
What are you going to put here inside?
Growing up, the stockings were a big tradition for us (pretty much our only one). When I was little, we lived pretty close to my grandparents. We would open presents after they came over… at 9 or 10 in the morning! That’s wait too late for children that get up early (like 5am) to sit and anticipate, so my mom had made us big stockings, that we could open as a family first thing in the morning. They would be filled with Legos, games, puzzles, books, an orange, our favorite crackers (mine was Wheat Thins, oddly enough), and a bit of candy – plenty to tide us over until Grandma and Grandpa showed up. As we got older and moved to Texas, the stockings were allowed to be opened when the three of us kids were up, and we left Mom and Dad in peace for awhile.
This year, my kids are going to follow this tradition (somewhat). Andy will be working on Christmas Eve, which means he won’t be home until 8am or later Christmas morning. The children usually get up around 6am, and we decided that staring at filled stockings for 2 hours would seem like a punishment to the children.* So I want to fill the stockings with things to do and things to eat.
But buying treats is not quite so easy when dealing with food issues.
I have a few store-bought things for their stockings, including some Reese’s. Mostly, however, I will be spending tonight and tomorrow night making things for their stockings. Here are a few things that I plan on making or that you could easily make as last-minute stocking stuffers or gifts.
crispy rice treats – I think I’m going to make them a bit healthier, so the kids can eat them for breakfast. I’ll use just a little more cereal (gf kinds, of course), and add some raisins and chopped peanuts.
dipped candy canes – Really cute, dip half of a candy cane in melted chocolate or white chocolate (or almond bark) and sprinkle with nonpareils.
brownie pops – Much like the cake balls, but using freshly baked brownies. Push a craft stick into a ball of brownie, dip in chocolate (or white chocolate), and sprinkle with crushed peppermints (or peppermint candy canes).
cheese crackers – I will use Roben Ryberg’s recipe.
white chocolate popcorn – Popcorn and dried cranberries smothered in melted white chocolate, and spread on wax paper to cool. You could make so many different kinds of “gourmet popcorn”.
We’re going non-traditional, and having enchiladas for Christmas dinner. I haven’t yet figured out the rest of the menu.
I hope you have a very merry Christmas, or other holiday. Perhaps you can even get some downtime (I would like some…).
*Carter still doesn’t understand “waiting until Friday” to open presents – he has no real concept of time yet. I think I finally got Carter to understand when I told him that we can open presents after Daddy goes to work and comes back home.