In our house Father Christmas filled a real (nylon!) stocking that was hung on the end of our beds, or on the door handle, and presents ranged from a satsuma, through wind up toys, pencils, note books, sweets and power balls, to socks and lipsticks and other little nik-naks.
When DD arrived, Father Christmas once more began visiting, though DD has a purpose made stocking to hold the little things he brings each Christmas eve.
DD has had a stocking since she was a year old, only being 3 weeks old for her first Christmas.
This year DD is 17 and once again she will hang her stocking and we will all wait to see what Father Christmas brings.
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Once when DD was about 6 she asked me if I was Father Christmas.
"Do you think I am?" I asked "Do you think I would buy all those little presents as well as the main ones under the tree?, do you think I have the time?"
"Well" she said "some people at school say it's you mum and dad that are Father Christmas"
"Do they" I said "well maybe some parents fill Christmas stockings, maybe for the children that have stopped believing, I think if you believe in him he will still come."
And then I told her a story from my own childhood. One Christmas eve I was not feeling well (sick with excitement no doubt) and my parents came to my bedroom to sit with me and help me get to sleep. When they opened my door and came in, my stocking, hanging on the outside of my bedroom door, was limp and empty...after they sat with me for a while, my dad went to get me a glass of water, and when he opened the door...the stocking was hanging there full of presents. We were all in my room, no one was in the house, yet the stocking had been filled, what other explanation can there be but Father Christmas?
Sometimes DD would see an item in her stocking and say "They sell this in Tesco!" and I would confess, yes, I bumped into Father Christmas and told him she liked that particular thing.
Some years I would casually mention in the run up to Christmas " You'll never guess who I saw in Asda! Father Christmas!"
When DD turned about 9 years old she took me aside and very seriously said "When I leave home and have children of my own, you must tell me if you are Father Christmas, I don't want to be waiting for him to come when I should be doing it and then they won't have presents and it will be my fault!"
This year DD is 17 and she will hang her stocking once again, she has told me a few times (with a wink) that I should mention to 'Father Christmas', if I bump into him in the shops, that she needs new mascara, and that she likes a particular shade of lipstick, and of course I'll pass that on, after all Father Christmas doesn't know much about makeup.
She knows that Father Christmas will always bring her presents for her stocking while she lives at home, and while she believes he will.