HELENA – Sock Sew, a St. Peter’s Hospital holiday tradition, is on once again.  Volunteers are sewing stockings for patients and their babies born in December.

This 64-year-old tradition started by a former St. Pete’s nurse, Arlene Mathews.

“Well, it started in my basement, my home and then…it got bigger and bigger so we moved to the hospital,” said Mathews.

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Mathews said back when she started they made socks for an average of 30 newborns with just a few volunteers.

Now it takes around two dozen volunteers to make sure the upwards of 70 babies born at St. Pete’s this December received the special gift.

“…it’s exciting for me to take the socks up to the OBGYN floor and have them be so excited about it every year, they are just thrilled to do it,” said Mathews.

The idea behind the large hand-made, decorated stocking, is so new moms and dads have something to bring their newborns home in. Smaller stockings stuffed with fruit and candy are made for patients who have to spend their holiday in the hospital.

“I just think it’s great that so many women come out and do this project because it’s so neat to have these babies born around the Christmas holiday to be able to come home in something different,” said Elaine Power, Sock Sew volunteer.

Power said she and Mathews have been friends for years and will continue to volunteer.

Megan Gullickson works at St. Pete’s and says she foresees Sock Sew continuing for generations to come.

“I think this is something that will continue on through the hospital, I think a lot of people take pride in volunteering for this activity and making sure the patients get something when they leave,” said Gullickson.

Mathews is a proud great-grandmother of two girls

“I have two great-granddaughters now, I wish they lived here…I’d stick one in a sock for sure,” Mathews said with a laugh.

The stockings had holiday designs of Christmas trees, gingerbread men, candy canes and more.