246 Hours of Christmas Love

I’ve said it before and I’m sure to say it again.

I love Santa.

And I especially love this Santa.

IMG_4150It pains me that this Santa comes out only for a few weeks a year.

My husband, the cross stitcher, made this Christmas stocking for me—possibly the most perfect example of loving hands at home! At the time he made it, we lived in a big city and had a summer “camp” in upstate New York. We loved the rustic spot but only lived there for a couple months in the summer. We worked in the city and yearned for the country and the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain.

So he chose a cross-stitch pattern for my stocking that would bring the rustic to our city Christmas.

And being the kind of guy he is, he kept track of every minute he spent on stitching the very dense, detailed pattern.

It took him . . . wait for it . . . 246 hours and 20 minutes!

He also spent time figuring out about how much he made per hour, as a college prof and business consultant, and let me know how much the stocking was worth, if he had been paid that hourly wage to make it. It was a big number, reflecting big love.

He gave me the stocking 10 years ago today! Of course, I knew it was coming—he could never have worked so long on it without me knowing. But to see it all done, in its glory . . . well, every year when I take it out of storage, I’m amazed all over again!

In the 10 years since I received it, a lot has changed. He has made stockings for a sweet niece:

stockinga grandson:

IMG_1055and is currently working on a new stocking for a new grandson.

IMG_4296And we have moved from the city to our “camp” full time. We live in a rustic setting, in the country, and my Santa looks right at home.

It seems to me that this is what Christmas is all about. Being in a comfortable place that feels like home, with reminders of how very much one is loved.

If you celebrate Christmas, is there one ornament or decoration that sums up the meaning of holiday for you? I’d love to hear about it.

IMG_4153