Pulling down Christmas lights, putting away a cherished nativity and bidding goodbye to constant family get-togethers can make January feel like a letdown.
This disappointment is felt especially by children, as the magic of the season dissipates.
Stefanie Hewlett, decided to do something about it.
Mid-Winter Let Down
“When my kids were ages 2, 4, 6 and 9, it was a bit of a letdown after Christmas was over, especially after the excitement of their presents and toys wore off. I decided to refocus their attention into the next holiday and make it more about service and showing love to family members rather than thinking about what they would get.”
She points out that kids usually love holidays where fictional characters bring them things, but that the stretch from Christmas to Easter felt too long. She decided to make Valentine’s Day more of a family event—and the idea of heart stockings was born.
“The tradition has evolved over the years as kids have grown up, but it still centers around giving rather than getting, thinking of others rather than yourself, and trying to show as much love as possible to those we love the most. It has always been successful and everyone — young and old — loves it!”
Visitors often asked Hewlett about the Valentine’s Day stockings in her home. So she decided to take her idea and make it into a story—one other families could read at the beginning of February.
Sharing the Heart Stockings Tradition
Her new book, Heart Stockings, available from Deseret Book, tells a fictionalized story about how the Valentine stocking tradition began, starting with two children staring out of a frosty winter window, contemplating the dreary months that loom ahead.
The book ends as the children come up with an idea that will brighten any dragging winter: heart stockings, a service-based family tradition.
Getting the tradition into book form was quite the process. Hewlett brought in her sister and friends Candace Rowley, Caroline McCann, and Allison Foulk to design, illustrate, and help write the book.
Now, children from many families can look forward to reading Heart Stockings every February.
Since the tradition includes hanging hand-made heart stockings, Hewlett also began lovingly creating a collection of unique, personalized stockings. She gave them to friends and family, like her sister-in-law Tiffany Peterson.
“We place them on our banister and we can continue teaching our children the importance of giving,” Peterson said. “My children get excited to see what’s in their stocking and it goes on every day, sometimes several times a day. I’m so thankful that these heart stockings have become a tradition of love in our home.”
Now, stockings are available through Deseret Book in addition to the children’s book.