Grandmum's Knit Stocking

A set of five knit Christmas stockings
A set of five knit Christmas stockings

My family began immigrating to the U.S. in the 1850s for almost 100 years from Germany, a land known for festive traditions and decorations during the holidays, especially in Catholic communities. My grandmother, Edie Phelan, knit a set of red, green, and white wool Christmas stockings for every child and grandchild born into her family for her own home and her five children’s homes with fourteen grandchildren, so there were a lot of stockings to knit. Edie made us feel welcome and cared for in her home, especially during Christmas because it was one of the only times when we were able to see our whole family. When my family is apart, I am able to look at this stocking and remember all of the love and comfort that surrounds me across the globe especially during trying times. Edie worked hard for everything in her life as a mother, businesswoman, and township commissioner and I saw that energy in my Santa themed stocking, knowing she persevered through so much and that I will too. Understanding Catholic traditions and bringing them into the holidays was something Edie strived for by putting much attention into our personalized stockings and connecting with parishioners in our local church through Eucharistic ministry. Sadly Grandmum passed away, but I can often see the lasting results of generations of strong German ties to faith and family every year when we hang stockings in each of our homes and say a prayer for my grandparents. 

Place(s): Binghamton, NY

– Casey Phelan

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more