Every Christmas as a child growing up, my sister and I were always excited on Christmas morning to look inside our Christmas Stockings. It was the only time of the year we got real oranges and there was always a giant peppermint stick inside that we would crack with a hammer and it would last for weeks.
But the fondest memory I have of Christmas on the farm was that each year Mama & Daddy would put a whole coconut in our stockings. Daddy would punch out the eyes of the coconut and drain out the sweet juice for us to drink. Then he would crack the coconut open with a hammer and take his pocket knife and carve out sweet chunks of fresh coconut for us to eat. It was something that no other kid in our rural community got for Christmas. They never missed a Christmas.
Years later, after I was grown and married, they continued to put a coconut in my stocking until our first born son came along. Then I picked up the tradition and put a coconut in his first stocking. As the boys grew, I continued to put a coconut in their stockings each year at Christmas. And now they are grown with families of their own, but when they come home for Christmas, they still find a coconut in their stocking hanging on the staircase. I know I'm a hopeless sentimentalist, but every time the boys open those stockings, I still remember Daddy.
One time after Daddy passed away, I asked Mama why she and Daddy always put a coconut in our stockings. She told me Daddy served in the Philippines as a Medic toward the end of World War II. My memory is getting foggier as I get older and I can't remember exactly her answer, but it was either that he had sent her a coconut from the Philippines for Christmas or brought her one when he came home. And when my sister and I came along, they started putting coconuts in our stockings each Christmas.
This Christmas 2022 will mark the 77th anniversary of the Christmas Coconut. I just hope the tradition means as much to the boys as it does to me and that they will continue it for generations to come.