The Best Homemade Christmas Stockings Filled with Love
When I was a child, my mother would hand sew and personalize our unique Christmas stockings. She loved to add her personal touch to our unique Christmas stocking. She would sew a new one for each of us every year.
Mom would find special nice Christmas material and create a pattern to cut out for each stocking. Once they were finished, she would embroider each of our names onto a stocking. Every Christmas morning, we would get up out of bed and run down to look at all of the cool Christmas gifts, the decorations on the tree, and then grab our personalized Christmas stocking that my mother had sewn and rummage through them. We would always have toys, candy, socks, and other little stocking stuffers.
My father was Irish, so we would always have to be on the look out for little gag toys, or practical jokes in our stockings. Nowadays, it is difficult for everyone to create their own stockings at home. It is lucky that handmade, personalized, and unique Christmas stockings can be purchased. This page will help you find sources for these special Christmas stockings.
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
The History of the Christmas Stocking
Possibly. . .
Nothing signifies Christmas like the hanging of fluffy red stockings with white trim above the fireplace mantle. In the United States, families have been practicing this tradition for years in preparation for that special day of spiritual celebration and giving.
Though in modern times the Christmas stocking is often used as a holder of small gifts for children and loved ones, there are many legends associated with the actual history of the Christmas stocking.
The Dutch Story
Some say the Dutch introduced the Christmas stocking to America. It was told that during the 16th Century, children in Holland would leave their clogs by the hearth filled with straw for the reindeer (or “donkey”).
A treat for Santa was left in the house near the fire. In return “Sinterclass” would leave the children treats. Later the clogs would become stockings, and the Saint known to all would become “Santa Claus.”
The Poor, Kind Nobleman Story
Many believe there was once a kind nobleman whose wife had died of an illness leaving the man and his three daughters in despair. After losing all his money in useless and bad inventions, the nobleman and his daughters had to move into a peasant’s cottage. When it came time for the daughters to marry, the father became even more depressed as his daughters could not marry without dowries.
One night after the daughters had washed out their clothing, they hung their stockings over the fireplace to dry. That night Saint Nicholas, knowing the despair of the father, stopped by the nobleman’s house after the family had gone to bed. He peeked in the window and saw the daughters’ stockings hanging by the fire.
Inspiration struck Saint Nicholas, and he took three small bags of gold from his pouch and threw them carefully, one by one, down the chimney into the stockings. The next morning when the daughters awoke, they found their stockings contained enough gold for them to get married. The nobleman was able to see his three daughters marry, and he lived a long and happy life.
The North American Story
Still others say in North America the traditional Christmas stocking actually dates back to the end of the XIXth Century. Some believe the first mention of Christmas stockings being hung from a chimney were by Thomas Nast, an illustrator, through his pictures and by the writer, George Webster, in a story about a visit from Santa Claus.
No matter the origin of the custom, families the world over continue to practice some act associated with the tradition of the Christmas stocking. In Puerto Rico, children put flowers and greens in small boxes and place them under their beds for the camels of the Three Kings; Italian children leave their shoes out the night before Epiphany, January 5, for La Befana the good witch; and in France, the children place their shoes by the fireplace, a tradition dating back to when children wore wooden peasant shoes.
Do You Remember Your First Christmas Stocking?
Give Your Pet a Christmas Stocking
Pets Like to Be Loved Too!
We feel tremendous love for our dogs, and our dogs sure seem to love us. But is a dog really capable of emotions? Or are we just projecting our feelings onto our dogs?
Scientists avoid the subject because part of what sets humans apart from the animals is our ability to experience feelings. To say that animals actually have feelings, in the same way we do, would change everything – perhaps disrupt our entire position and standing in the animal kingdom.
However, any dog owner knows that dogs love completely and have a greater capacity for love than most people. If one were to describe the main characteristics of a dog, they would have to be:
- strong affection
- warm attachment
- unselfish loyalty and benevolent concern for others
Wait a minute – that is the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition of love. Probably why the author of Dogs Never Lie About Love : Reflections on the Emotional World of Dogs, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, writes, “dogs are love.” So there isn’t a question of whether dogs love, the mystery is how they have such an enormous capacity for it.
Christmas Stockings for Your Santa Paws
For Animal Lovers
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale
How to Stuff a Christmas Stocking
How to Choose Christmas Stocking Stuffers for Anyone
Realize that size matters! Too many large stocking stuffers and you’ll only be able to fit in 3 or 4 things; too many small stocking stuffers and you’ll only fill up the toe of the stocking. Go for a combination of sizes: 1-2 large items (it looks great if one is sticking out of the stocking on Christmas morn); 4-6 medium items; and 10 or more small items works nicely to really fill a stocking.
Think of favorites. What are their favorite animals, sports, characters, colors, candies, foods? Include favorites as stocking stuffers and they’ll know you’ve been paying attention. And don’t forget special diets for allergies and diabetes!
Think of hobbies and collectibles. If they collect something (action figures, baseball cards, Beanie Babies, cooking gadgets) – throw one in as a stocking stuffer for a guaranteed hit.
Educate ’em. Feel good about gifting them with science toys, books, or magazine subscriptions related to a specific hobby or field of study.
Tantalize their taste buds. Who doesn’t like food? Even toddlers can get excited about fruit snacks and animal crackers as stocking stuffers. Older kids love candy in interesting shapes, flavors, or dispensers. For more sophisticated palates, try gourmet sausages, cheeses, hot sauces, and cookies or brownies. And don’t forget beverage items like specialty hot cocoa packets, coffee, and tea.
Get ’em giggling. Consider gag gifts as stocking stuffers. Bright colored eyeshadow for that outdoorsy tomboy; “Santa’s coal” bubble gum made to look like a piece of coal; teddy bear stickers for your 17-year-old skateboarding son. Or start with a silly stocking stuffer that can circulate around to a different family member’s stocking each year.
Include consumables. Beyond food, there are plenty of other useful items that make practical and fun stocking stuffers. Pens, pencils, post-its, candles, personalized address labels, disposable cameras, batteries, rolls of quarters for laundry, lottery tickets, socks, phone cards, and stamps are all winners.
Start a tradition with Christmas tree ornaments. Many families enjoy giving each member a special ornament as a stocking stuffer to open and then hang on the Christmas tree. When kids grow up and move out, their own ornament collection begins with the set of 18 or so ornaments they’ve received every Christmas throughout childhood. Finding ornaments that commemorate a special memory for that year adds a special touch.
Tuck in gift cards and gift certificates. Even a modest budget can support a $5 gift card for coffee or a smoothie. Other popular ideas include gift certificates for books, movies, restaurants, and clothing stores. For college students or young adults newly on their own, consider grocery cards or gift cards from Target or Bed Bath and Beyond.
Wrap it. If you can find the time, wrapping each stocking stuffer makes the opening even more fun. It’s the perfect way to use up all those leftover scraps of paper from wrapping your larger Christmas gifts. You can also leave one or two items unwrapped and sticking out of the top of the stocking.
Best Places to Buy Christmas Stocking Stuffers
We’ve found our best stocking stuffer ideas at the following stores (or type of stores):
- Discount Stores, like Target or Wal-Mart (especially the $ spot and the travel-size toiletry sections)
- Dollar Stores
- Cost Plus World Market (great source for sample-size specialty food items)
- Boutique Toy Stores (these may sell the nicer $2-$3 stocking stuffer toys, plus games, balls, action figures, magic tricks, mini musical instruments)!
- Drug Stores
- Grocery Stores
- Pet Stores
- Girls’ Jewelry Stores, like Claire’s
- Department Stores, like Macy’s, Mervyns, Kohls (for gloves, chenille socks, coin purses/wallets, accessories, underwear, luggage tags)
- Craft Stores, like JoAnn’s Fabrics or Michael’s (for great pens, paints, beading kits, sewing notions, rubber stamps, scrapbooking accessories)
- Sporting Goods Stores (camping gear, fishing tackle, keychain thermometers, golfing accessories, water bottles, healthy snacks)
- Car Wash or a Car Parts Store (air fresheners, visor mirrors, tire pressure gauges, flashlights, bungee cords)
- Bed and Bath Stores, like Bed Bath and Beyond or Linens and Things (kitchen gadgets, small cookbooks, bath/spa items, gourmet candy/food, gourmet tea, candles, spices)
- Book Stores, like Barnes and Noble, or your local book shop (tiny books, bookmarks, book holders, book lights, magnifying glasses, journals, diaries)
- Stationery Stores (notecards, art supplies, calculators, stickers, magnets, desk supplies)