Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Stocking Traditions and Inspiration

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

I don't know about you, but each year I love getting out my Christmas stockings. It brings back memories of when I was growing up. All the stockings at my house where handmade felt stockings with hand-stitched felt appliqué Christmas designs on them and the initials of our first name at the top. My great Aunt Helen made each one of them. 

When I was asking my Mom about our stockings, she told me how when she was a little girl and would go visit Aunt Helen, all the girls had long white stockings that they wore and that is what they used at Christmas to fill - she never had a decorated stocking. The photo I used at the top of this blog post seemed to perfectly depict the story my Mom told me about Christmas Stockings when she was a little girl. She said their stockings were typically filled with lots of fruit and candy, of course.

I have 3 older brothers and I am the only girl, so my stocking was different than the boys and I loved that! The boys had red stockings with green & white trim and mine was green with red and white trim. The only photo I could find is this one and my stocking is not pictured in this photo. Typically my stocking would be put at the other side of the fireplace. I know there are many more photos at my Mom's of our stockings and next time I am there, I am going to spend some time digging thru old photos...and I think I might even confiscate my old stocking!
I remember our stockings also had fruit in them; usually an orange and an apple in the toe, along with lots of candy and a few toys.

The history of the Christmas stocking is an interesting read and I am sure many families carry on their own tradition with stockings.
While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas Stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. In some Christmas stories, the contents of the Christmas stocking are the only toys the child receives at Christmas from Santa Claus; in other stories (and in tradition), some presents are also wrapped up in wrapping paper and placed under the Christmas tree. Tradition in Western culture threatens that a child who behaves badly during the year will receive only a pile of coal. However, coal is rarely if ever left in a stocking, as it is considered cruel. Some people even put their Christmas stocking by their bedposts so Santa Claus can fill it by the bed while they sleep. 

I think handmade stockings are just so special and so here is just a small sampling of Christmas Stockings I have made in the past. Several of them I have had the honor of being featured in Sew Beautiful Magazine! 

The machine shadow work stocking is available at Southern Stitches and the design set includes a PDF for making the stocking!
I hope I have inspired you to start or carry on a Christmas Tradition of handmade Christmas stockings!

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