Stockings done with care, and for all by Goodnight

December 20, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

Editor's note: This is one in a series of stories running on the 12 days before Christmas to recognize people who make the holidays better for others.

Looking for something special in your stocking this year?

At Washington County Hospital, Jean Goodnight already is preparing for special little stocking stuffers that could arrive in time for Christmas.

Every year, she supplies the hospital's birthing center with specially crafted felt stockings sized to hold newborns who arrive on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

A 15-year volunteer through the hospital's auxiliary, Goodnight was working on the hospital's annual Tree of Lights program in 1999 when fellow auxiliary member Sue Fiedler walked into the room and asked, "Does anybody in here sew?"


"I thought maybe she'd lost a button or something and needed somebody to sew it back on, so I said, 'I do.'" Goodnight recalled. "And she said, 'Then I've got a project for you.'"

Goodnight was given a pattern for the baby stockings that had been cut out of a brown paper bag, she said. From that point, the baby stockings became her personal enterprise.

Originally, all the stockings were red with white cuffs and little bells on the toes and on the cuffs, she said. But she got bored with all of them looking the same, and started stitching green stockings, too. This year, she's making gold ones as well.

And while she still uses that brown paper bag pattern, she has altered the design a little, too - leaving the cuffs open so the flaps can be wrapped around the babies to protect them from drafts.

Goodnight buys the materials herself and sews the stockings on her own time.

"They wanted me to turn in the slips for the felt," she said, "but my theory is if I'm going to do this as my project, then it's my project.

"I really don't know how much it costs in a year," she added. "My husband doesn't care - he's a dear. He's very supportive."

And she's got the process down to a science.

"I can finish one in less than half an hour if I don't have any interruptions," she said.

Even so, she tries to start work on them in the summer, producing about a dozen each year for the birthing center. And as she's working, she likes to think about the babies who'll be wearing those stockings home. Since the finished product goes directly to the birthing center, she's usually not around when the stockings are stuffed.

"I would love to see one," Goodnight said. "I think about, 'Do they fit?' and 'What do the parents think?' But if your baby's born on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, that's quite a present."

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