December 22, 2017

Readers share their favorite Christmas memories

Fireplace, stockings become Christmas tradition throughout family’s journey

Marlene J. Kries

Christmas time while growing up on the east side of Indianapolis was special for my older sister and myself with my single Mom in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Our tree was tall enough to reach the 9-foot-ceiling in our rental house on Emerson Avenue. One thing missing was a fireplace to hang stockings from Santa that many of my friends talked about. The songs we sang around the old upright piano and in church made up for the omission of stockings.

When as an adult I transferred because of my work to Michigan and my two children again were experiencing no fireplace to hang stockings, I was able to buy a regular size cardboard fireplace from a toy store while I was purchasing toys for them to put in layaway.

I bought two red stockings for their 3-and 6-year-old sizes, and they were delighted with the surprise on Christmas morning and the stockings stuffed with candy and a small gift.

When I met and remarried my husband who was home from the military in Vietnam, we added to our family and when he was reassigned to Germany. Of course, we took the cardboard fireplace with us.

What fun it was to set it up in our apartment on the base and hang three stockings for ages 1, 6 and 9 with the children looking on for the Christmas greeting card to everyone back home.

Now after 49 years, I still hang 10 stockings at a real fireplace in my home for all of my family to help me celebrate my Christmas Day birthday, and this year I will be 80 years young.

By the way, the mantel on my fireplace is set with a beautiful ceramic Nativity scene that belonged to my deceased husband’s mother and made by his sister, which is the real reason for the holiday.

(Marlene J. Kries is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Brookville.)

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