Christmas stockings are recognized as one of the most characteristic Christmas decorations.
Both Christmas Day, and St. Nicholas Day (which is also celebrated in some countries), is a time of giving presents. In both cases, smaller gifts should be placed in a specially made Christmas sock, which will not only be a great alternative for gift packaging, fulfilling the role of a secret place for gifts.
The Santa stocking can also serve as an excellent Christmas decoration which creates a festive atmosphere in your home. Gift stockings are beautiful decorations that will make everyone feel the magic of Christmas!
It brings us to explain the reasons behind the tradition of hanging stockings in your house during Christmas time.
The timeless tradition of hanging Christmas stockings comes from the story of Santa Claus.
He was a noble man, known to us today as Saint Nicholas, and was born in 270 AD in the ancient Greek town of Patara. When he was young, his wealthy parents died of an epidemic.
As a true follower of Christ's principles, Nicholas became a Christian priest and used all his wealth to help the poor, the needy, the sick and the suffering. He devoted his life to serving God and became a Bishop of Myra at a very young age. Bishop Nicholas soon became known throughout the country for his kindness and generosity.
The legend of hanging Christmas stockings, or so-called Santa stockings, is based on one of the most popular stories about St. Nicholas. This is a fairly well-known story about three daughters of a poor peasant, who was one of the bishop's neighbors.
The girls' father lost all his property and didn’t have a dowry for his daughters that would allow them to get married. He had no choice but to force them into prostitution.
Saint Nicholas, didn’t want to agree to such a fate of these girls, and decided to help them by giving each of them a certain amount of money. Every evening, he crept into their chimney and tossed one pouch of gold coins into each girl’s stockings that were drying by the fireplace.
Thanks to Saint Nicholas, the poor father could see how his three beloved daughters get married, start a family and lead a long and happy life.
And that’s how the tradition of leaving Christmas socks over the fireplace or elsewhere in the home began and it’s being practiced to this day.
Why do we get gifts from Santa?
St. Nicholas was a mysterious giver. He never got married and had no children of his own, but he loved them very much and often gave them presents. He tried to sneak in to leave gifts late at night so that his identity would remain a secret.
Since then, children around the world hang their socks, eagerly awaiting presents from Santa Claus. At the beginning, children simply were hanging one of their regular socks, but over time special Christmas socks were created.
These days, Christmas stockings are widely used as traditional gift packaging. These sock-shaped bags are being sewn from different fabrics. They can also have different patterns, where the most popular are reindeers, snowmen, elves, and obviously, the Santa.
You may easily create an inexpensive Christmas stocking yourself at home.
Simple DIY stocking to make for Christmas:
≻ First of all, prepare a template. Find a suitable sample in a book or online and print it out with a printer. You could also draw a sample yourself if you’re creative and can draw well.
≻ Attach the prepared paper template to the fabric which will serve as the surface of your stocking. Then transfer the contours onto the fabric and cut out the empty spaces.
≻ Beforehand, you can also fold the materials in half so that the front side is at the top and the wrong side is in the middle. This way you can immediately cut off the two necessary parts at the same time in order to form a sock. If you haven't already done so, repeat the same steps with the other fabric assigned for lining .
≻ It is important to sew the sock properly. To do this, arrange the empty parts on the table (use the sample picture as a guide). Combine the outer and lining fabrics together.
≻ Now fold the sewn-in empty parts, i.e. the outer fabric and the lining. Be careful to do it the wrong way up.
≻ Stitching by hand or using a sewing machine, sew the sock almost all around. At the same time it is necessary to leave a small unstitched area, which will turn out to be at the top of the finished product. Choose the lining part for this.
≻ Before unfolding the sock, make small incisions in the folds so that the finished product does not wrinkle or deform.
≻ Turn the stitched toe forwards, sew the unstitched part of the sock with a hidden seam. Place the lining inside, roll up the cuff, iron the toe and iron the cuff as you wish.
Christmas stockings can have different designs depending on your imagination. You can come up with any style, change colors and fabrics, or even decorate them with New Year's drawings.
Where to hang a Christmas stocking?
Traditionally, they should be hung over the fireplace sparkling with delicate fire, but due to the fact that not every household has a fireplace, you can hang them almost anywhere. They can be used as a decorative element that is pinned, or filled and put on a shelf.
Christmas stockings made of felt should be hung along the fireplace. But you can hang them wherever you want, near the Christmas tree, near the bed, on the door or wall, or even on the window frame. Small socks can be hung directly on the Christmas tree.
What to put in a Christmas stocking?
There are many options for Christmas stocking fillers, it all depends on your imagination and budget. But below we present some ideas that you might find useful.
Something sweet for the stocking
One of the goods that is always welcome as a gift from Santa are sweets and candy. You can throw a Christmas chocolate figurine, a characteristic sugar cane or any other sweets in the Christmas stocking, and it will surely bring a smile to the recipient's face and will sweeten their life.
Only small items will fit into the stocking. Gift stockings are usually not very large, so you should not prepare to put too many items inside. A perfect gift from Santa will be a small cosmetic, used by the recipient on a daily basis. These can be a perfume, cream, lipstick or anything else that will not take up much space, and it will certainly be useful.
Other practical items could include a book, a music CD, a movie DVD, a cup, or hair accessories. Mini Christmas stockings would be ideal for gift cards, vouchers or money holder cards.
Something warm for long winter evenings
The time of giving Christmas presents is the middle of winter when it gets dark quickly, it’s snowing and the temperatures are freezing. Having that in mind, you should also add something warming in the stocking. It can be a pair of warm Christmas-themed socks, a hand warmer, a pack of winter tea, or a scented candle. Each of these pieces will certainly warm up not only the body but also the heart of the recipient.
Food items can also be great stocking stuffers with nuts such as walnuts, and fruit such as oranges that may be placed inside. The oranges we receive represent the gold that Santa Clause left in the stockings for the peasant’s three daughters.
Also, the practice of giving fruit and nuts could have originated during the Great Depression when many families couldn’t afford to buy expensive Christmas gifts, so these foods were given instead.
The holiday season is a time of joy and fun, so there is no reason to take them seriously. That’s why, you can easily throw some holiday season's gadgets in the stocking or funny Christmas accessories. For example, it can be a traditional snow ball, Santa hat, Elf hat, or a head band with reindeer's ears.
Kids will be very happy finding small toys in their stockings. The most important thing is that the gift has a festive theme, which might also bring some laughter on this day.
Santa’s gifts are for good people
Traditionally, only good children will receive gifts. In practice, not only the youngest, but also adults receive them. However, the principle of being nice is still valid so if someone is to receive a gift, they have somehow deserved it.
You should also put a decorative greeting card in the Christmas stocking, with which Santa will be able to thank you for all your good deeds.
Whether young or old, man or a woman, adult or a child, everyone believes in the custom of giving Christmas presents in stockings. But the craziness of getting gifts from Santa in the Christmas stocking is more obvious with children than adults.