I'm a geocacher and have done this sort of thing with trackables found hidden in some of the caches I've located. Normally you take a treasure and replace it with something else, so the cache is never empty. I have a great collection of things I've found over the years. The trackables aren't meant to be kept though. You are supposed to redeposit them somewhere else as quickly as possible and log where you picked them up and where you dropped them off so that the person who originally purchased the thing can keep track of it's travels. This stocking was just like that only I didn't go looking for it in the first place, I just happened upon it. This find made my day.
The idea is to leave it somewhere for someone else to find and to do so without letting anyone catch you. The stocking, when I found it, still had 4 ornaments left inside. They were all hand painted by the kids at the youth group. One had obviously been dipped in shaving cream and acrylic paint. I've done that sort of thing myself in the past, but never with Christmas ornaments (but you can count on that happening sometime in the future!)
On the way to a nearby town to do a wee bit of shopping, I thought over where I could leave this Christmas stocking. I didn't think a store would be a good idea as people would just think it was part of the merchandise, or someone would think it was being stolen if it was seen being carried away. Where could I leave it where it wouldn't get wet and where I knew it would be found quickly. I smiled as I came up with the perfect place. After finishing our shopping we often drop by the local McCafe for refreshments. I could leave it there. I stuck it someplace where it was likely found even before I left. I didn't see that happen though as I didn't sit where I could keep an eye on it. I'll find out when I see the find posted online.....hopefully.
While making my choice of ornaments I discovered that one of the others was broken. It was a delicate glass ornament and as I was afraid someone might cut themselves on it, I disposed of it, and all the shards I could find in the stocking. That's when I discovered there was also $4.55 cents tucked down in the toe. I imagine someone dropped the coins in as a donation to the Cardinal Youth Group but as I doubt anyone will ever even send them back their stocking, I guess the last person will end up with the loot as well as sock. I bet they will be thinking it's a lump of coal in the toe!
However it works, I think this was a really great idea and I will be putting it forth to some of the groups I'm involved with next winter. Hopefully we can create and track the travels of our own Christmas stockings too. It seems like a great way to spread Christmas cheer. If all else fails, I may have to enlist my grandchildren to create some Christmas balls for this sort of project. I can hardly wait!
Note: I have since learned that the Cardinal group is hoping to hear where the socks end up so they can come and collect the donations. Apparently other socks have money in them too. Please keep this in mind if you find one. Thanks.