When we first started decorating Grosbeak Gardens for Christmas, we bought the typical stocking—red body and white trim. We used them for a while and then stopped using them all together. We found them rather boring. And then Bill came up with an inspired solution. Why not get small, personalized tote bags from LL Bean, one in red for him and one in green for me? What a great idea! We love going to LL Bean, and try to make a trip to Freeport, Maine every year. Bill's idea seemed to fit us very well. For two reasons, it's really not surprising this bit of genius came from Bill. First, when he moved in with me in 2006, I had two tote bags, neither of which I used very much. My intention was to carry them to the grocery store and save a plastic bag or two. Now we have 14 tote bags, and every one gets used a lot. We have one for my knitting, several that we use to carry back and forth to Grosbeak Gardens, one for small gardening supplies, and several on hand at all times for trips to the grocery store and other shops. Second, given Bill's penchant for assigning an item a different use than what it was intended for (I'd say "repurposing," but I hate that word), like our doughbox-turned-coffee-table, it's no wonder he came up with this wonderful idea. So the tote bags are hung by the chimney with care. We hope St. Nicholas has a laugh when he sees them.