Coming from a large family is something I've always been proud of. There were ten of us. Mom, Dad, seven children, and Lorin. My father is the hardest working man I know. We farmed 200 acres of wheat, alfalfa, mint, and sod. Spring, summer, and fall required long hours of physically exhausting work. The financial payoff was slim. Our family struggled and mom & dad often went without. They are great examples of sacrifice.
By the time winter rolled around, things on the farm were slowing down. Dad often worked building machinery or constructing houses (as a general contractor). I know that as Christmas time approached the family funds were scarce. However, this did not stop Santa from coming.
As a child, I never worried that Santa "might not come". I knew that he would. The days proceeding Christmas were so exciting. Presents were wrapped and placed under the tree. Mom made lots and lots of treats... which we delivered to neighbors. For many years we made gifts for each other. I remember one year I made a head band for my brother. I cut out the fabric and sewed it together. It was about 3 inches wide and I printed his name, "Seth", on it in bold letters using permanent marker. I guess I was quite young. Its really funny now to think that the headband was all I could come up with. Seth wore the headband... to bed. ;)
On Christmas Eve, we all chose a spot on the couch or chairs to place our stockings. Then comes the funny part. We all searched the house high and low to find the biggest socks (we didn't have the real Christmas Stockings). I didn't even know that there was such a thing... ya know, beautifully sewn giant stockings to hang from the mantle. My father is 6 1/2 feet tall and wears a size 13 shoe. Dad's socks were the best thing we could find, and on Christmas morn each sock had a big fat orange in the toe, nuts and candy. The girls got lip gloss or nail polish.
Now I reflect on the stocking scene and wonder if dad's socks ever fit him the same after they were emptied. I doubt it!