100. Mom’s Christmas Stocking

100. Mom’s Christmas Stocking

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Mom’s Christmas Stocking

Open your heart—open it wide; someone is standing outside.

~Quoted in Believe: A Christmas Treasury by Mary Engelbreit

Our mother, June Parker, was a spiritual researcher, historian, student of life, journalist and writer. She did none of these as a profession, but as her passion. After she died, I found myself in her sunny, well-organized office looking through the files of her many newspaper articles, letters to the editor and genealogy notes, each neatly typed on her IBM Selectric typewriter.

One sheet of paper caught my eye. It was entitled “Mom’s Christmas Stocking” and here’s what it said: “Every Christmas you have always filled a stocking for Mom. I want you to continue doing so. Choose the very things I would love. Find someone to give this filled stocking to — a woman in prison, or in a rehab, or a homeless center. This is the most precious Christmas gift I could receive or you could give — sharing the love we know with someone who really needs a shot of love. And, in this way I will continue to share your Christmases and continue to be a part of my wonderful family.”

I gave copies to my sisters and brother and tucked a copy away for myself.

As our first Christmas season without Mom approached, I purchased some fun and useful items for her Christmas stocking. I bought a beautiful white stocking and wrapped each item, filling that stocking with care. I found an organization in New York City, where I live, called Women In Need (WIN) — this would be the perfect place to donate Mom’s stocking! I felt the presence of my mother with me as I walked to the center on my lunch hour. I told her how happy I was to be sharing our love in this way, knowing she was right there with me.

The women at the office of WIN were grateful and touched by my mom’s request and promised to find a special woman to receive the stocking.

The loving feeling carried me through the day and when I saw my friends that evening at my gym I shared with them what I had experienced. The following Christmas season we had a Girls’ Night and played board games, had refreshments and filled eight stockings for Women In Need.

Their enthusiasm helped me create our annual Mom’s Stocking event where we collect donations of needed items and fill upwards of 150 Christmas stockings for women living in homeless shelters in New York City. The event has grown to include filling stockings for babies and young children and gift cards for teens. Friends and their children are invited to our open house Christmas event to fill stockings, enjoy refreshments and participate in giving and sharing shots of love.

My sisters and brother live in other states, and they and their families fill Christmas stockings and deliver them to their places of choice. Our mother’s extended family also donates to our Mom’s Stocking event in various ways. All donations are welcome and all are used for this loving cause.

Each year I thank my mother for giving me the most precious Christmas gift, the opportunity to share love where truly needed.

~Daryl Wendy Strauss

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