Vivian Say is thinking about winter. Specifically December. Specifically Christmas.
She is thinking about the North State friends and neighbors who won’t have boxes of cherished Christmas memorabilia to cheer their hearts this yuletide.
So this Happy Valley great-grandmother is putting her creative skills to work making Christmas stockings for those who lost homes and belongings in the Carr Fire.
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It’s not the first time she has responded to tragedy in this way. In October of 1999, the Canyon Fire roared through Happy Valley, destroying 64 homes, including the home of Say’s daughter and her family.
“They stayed with us at my home — 15 people in the house for four months,” Say said. “I thought about Christmas coming soon and that they wouldn’t have stockings. So I made each person a special stocking and wrote a special note inside each one. They still use those stockings each year, and my daughter told me she reads her message each time before she hangs it up.”
Now, she notes, it’s that time of year again. “There are so many that have lost their homes,” she said. “Christmas is around the corner and they won’t have stockings.”
Quickly recognizing the scope of such a project, Say reached out on Facebook to her quilting group, Quilting Perfectly Imperfect, to see if anyone was interested in helping.
“There were immediate responses from across the U.S., France and Australia,” she said. “The response has been overwhelming. I talked with my mailman and told him we are going to become good friends.”
Say launched her project soon after her own evacuation drama with the Carr Fire. A granddaughter and her family were evacuated and came to Say’s house, followed by her daughter and her family.
“We had 10 people, three cats and three dogs,” she said. “No one slept as we watched, listened and waited. Everyone’s vehicles were loaded and waiting. Then we got the phone call to evacuate from here (Happy Valley), and we all loaded up and left.”
Say stayed with another daughter on the east side of Redding and returned home after three days. None of her family lost their homes in this fire. Say has lived in the Redding area since 1964 and is mother to eight children.
Her attention is now focused on the Christmas stockings – and she invites anyone who wishes to share their talents in this way to contact her. The stockings can be quilted, sewn, knitted, appliquéd, or decorated with needlepoint. “Whatever talent the person has to offer,” Say said. “Most importantly, they are made with love.”
Say is also trying to figure out a way to get the stockings to those impacted by the Carr Fire, perhaps partnering with a community Christmas event organizer. Anyone with suggestions or information – as well as those who would like to send her stockings — can contact her at CarrStockings@gmail.com.