Christmas Stockings: History and Ideas
What would Christmas Day be like without Christmas Stockings filled with treats? If you have wondered about Christmas stockings history and ideas for both using them and filling them you are not alone. Stockings are a beloved tradition in almost every home that celebrates Christmas but no one really knows how the tradition started.
Each year it seems there are more designs to choose from, more suggestions for decoration, and more ways to fill stockings than ever before.
The History of Christmas Stockings
Although there are several legends about the tradition of hanging a Christmas stocking, no one really knows for sure how it began.
Historians believe that it was brought to the United States by the Dutch in Colonial times. It was a tradition for Dutch children to leave their shoes out filled with straw for the reindeer as well as leaving a treat for Santa by the hearth. In turn Santa would leave the children small gifts in their shoes. This was done on Saint Nicholas Day, December 6.
But why would the Dutch children to that?
It seems that the legend of St. Nicholas is involved. You see, once there was a nobleman who had fallen on hard times. He had three daughters of marriageable age but he did not have money for their dowries. Without a dowry there was no way that they could ever get married. St. Nicholas heard of their plight and knew that the nobleman would never consent to taking charity from him. He decided to drop a bag of coins for each daughter down the chimney in the middle of the night and the bags landed in the stockings that the girls had hung by the fire to dry.
Clement Moore added to the magic with his poem, The Night before Christmas, published in 1823. He wrote the fantasy for his own children and it was published in the Troy Sentinel. The poem recounts one father's discovery of St. Nicholas on Christmas Eve and includes references to the stockings being "hung by the chimney with care…"
Today, almost everyone who celebrates Christmas adds a stocking to the fireplace in the hope that Santa will fill it with something wonderful.
Christmas Stockings on Amazon
Christmas Stockings: Ideas for Stocking Stuffers
Although candy and small toys are traditionally added to stockings there are many more items that can be fun to give. No one is too old or sophisticated to be delighted by this holiday tradition.
An easy way to create a stocking is to add themed gifts. Here are some ideas to get you started:
For the Cook
- Measuring spoons
- Edible gold leaf
- Vanilla beans
- Hot pads
- Black truffle oil
- Smoked paprika
- Smoked salt
- Unusual ingredients
- Gift certificates to favorite cooking stores
- Magazines like Bon Appetit or Saveur
For the Gardener
- Seed packets
- Gift certificates to garden centers
- Magazines like Organic Gardening or Birds and Blooms
For the Coffee Aficionado
- Coffee beans
- Antique coffee mug
- Gift certificate to Starbucks or other coffee shop
- Chocolate stirring spoons
- Flavoring syrups
- A travel mug
For the Quilter
- Fat quarters
- Quilting magazines
- Gift certificate to a favorite fabric store
For the Handyman
- Screwdriver or other small tools
- Gift certificate to a home improvement store
- Hand cleaner with pumice
- New drill bits
For Almost Anyone
- Candy from the decade they grew up in. You can find this at websites like Nostalgic Candy
- Gift certificates
- Subscription to a favorite magazine
- Move tickets
- Tickets to other events
How to Make Beautiful Homemade Christmas Stockings
Stocking Stuffers for Children
Stocking stuffers for children can be difficult to choose if you want to do something a little different form candy and cheap toys that break before the day is over. Here are some other possibilities to consider:
- Add a muffin or something for breakfast. This way your child will have something healthy to munch on rather than going straight for candy.
- Tickets to a movie
- Homemade coupons for special privileges like staying up past bedtime, a trip to the zoo, or a special time with mom or dad.
- Gift certificates to a favorite store
- Crayons, colored pencils, other art supplies
As you can see there are many possibilities when it comes to creating the perfect stocking for adults and children alike.
Where to Buy Stockings
You can buy Christmas stockings almost anywhere. From a vintage look to stockings that are themed there is something for everyone.
Make Your Own
Another type of stocking to consider is a gift in itself, homemade stockings. There are many kits for cross stitch, quilted, felt stockings, embroidered stockings and more. Taking the time to make a special stocking for someone is a great gift and will be a treasured keepsake for years to come.