The stockings were hung by the chimney with care ... much like the way they were made.
Especially if they were created by Bonnie Cameron of Evans, who knits Christmas stockings.
"It takes about four days to make one," she said. "I've done each one of them with loving care. After all, I am creating a treasure for a child."
Mrs. Cameron learned to knit when she was 8 by watching her mother.Since then, her love for needlework has grown into more than a hobby. It is her passion. So much so that not even tendinitis or arthritis keeps her from it.
"I just get such a good feeling every time someone gets their stocking. I just know it is something that they really, really want," she said.
Whenever a child gets married, or a grandchild is born, Mrs. Cameron's clients insist that another one of her stockings be added to the mantel.
She can also duplicate family patterns. One particular Santa design is by far the most popular.
The classic Santa, with a fuzzy Angora beard, is coming out of a brick chimney. The pattern dates to the 1940s. Mrs. Cameron said callers literally jump for joy when they find someone who still does the design.
"Not very many people do this anymore," she said.
One nostalgic customer is sending two dog-chewed stockings for Mrs. Cameron to repair. She'll probably knit pieces of the old stockings into new ones.
Barring canine catastrophes, Mrs. Cameron said her stockings will last long enough to be passed down through generations.
She uses high-quality yarns and lines them with flannel to protect some of the delicate spots inside. Some of the thick, holiday socks sport bells, and all of them have names at the top.
"I really feel like I'm creating family traditions," she said.
Her own four grown children have stockings, but, as with the shoemaker's children, theirs are not quite the same caliber as those she makes for clients, she said.
Her home, which she shares with her husband, Pete, and three Lhasa apsos, has touches of Mrs. Cameron's handiwork in every room. Handmade pillows, cross-stitch and needlepoint grace her furniture and walls. She is even working on a "crazy-quilted" forest-green, velvet tree skirt for her Christmas tree.
Mrs. Cameron has sold her beloved stockings for five years, charging $50 to $100 each.
"That's what they have always been, even though the Angora keeps going up," she said.
The number of stockings she makes increases each year.
"This year, I've probably done a couple of dozen," she said.
And each year she has to turn down a few requests.
"Unfortunately, people start thinking about it in October," she said. "I just physically don't have time to do them all. If I could be working on them all year long, nobody would be disappointed."
To place an order for next Christmas, call Mrs. Cameron at (706) 855-0604 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332.