What Is A Christmas Stocking For Kids?

What Are Christmas Stockings?

A Christmas stocking is a special, decorative sock that is hung near a fireplace mantel or other location in anticipation of receiving small gifts for Christmas. Christmas stockings are a traditional Christmas decoration and gift-giving custom that stems from the legend of Saint Nicholas.

The origin of the Christmas stocking tradition dates back to stories of Saint Nicholas’ secret gift giving in the 4th century. As the legend goes, Saint Nicholas learned of a poor man with three daughters who did not have enough money for a dowry. Saint Nicholas threw three bags of gold down the family’s chimney, which landed in the daughters’ stockings that had been hung by the fireplace to dry. This act of anonymous generosity saved the daughters from being sold into slavery.

Today, Christmas stockings are a beloved tradition and meaningful symbol of Christmas. They represent hope, generosity, and the spirit of giving. It’s customary for children to hang a large, decorative Christmas stocking by the fireplace in anticipation of small gifts from Santa Claus. Stockings are often personalized with names or initials and given as family heirlooms. The tradition brings excitement, surprises, and joy to children on Christmas morning.

While styles and practices vary, the symbolic Christmas stocking remains a fundamental part of Christmas festivities worldwide. They help make Christmas magical for both young and old.

Types of Christmas Stockings

There are many different types of Christmas stockings to choose from. Here are some of the most popular options:

Traditional Knitted Stockings

Knitted stockings with decorative knit patterns are a classic Christmas tradition. These cozy stockings often feature designs like snowflakes, reindeer, Christmas trees, or fair isle patterns. Knitted stockings come in wool, cotton, or acrylic yarns.

Felt Stockings

Felt stockings have a soft, plush feel and festive look. They are available in solid colors or festive patterns and designs. Felt is a warm, durable material that makes stockings extra sturdy. These stockings can be personalized with iron-on motifs or appliqués.

Quilted Stockings

saint nicholas dropped three bags of gold down the chimney for the daughters

Quilted fabric stockings have a homespun, handmade look. They feature detailed stitching patterns and decorative fabrics like flannel or velvet. Quilted stockings are often accented with ruffles, ribbons, buttons, or other embellishments.

Personalized Stockings

Custom, personalized stockings make wonderful gifts. Choose stockings embroidered or printed with names, monograms, photos, or designs unique to each family member. Personalized details create stockings full of meaning that can become treasured keepsakes. Companies like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware offer custom monogrammed and embroidered stockings.

Christmas Stocking Traditions

Hanging Christmas stockings by the fireplace is a beloved tradition in many households. According to the History Channel, the story of Christmas stockings traces back to a legend involving St. Nicholas. As the story goes, a poor man was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters to get married. St. Nicholas dropped three bags of gold down their chimney, which landed in the stockings the sisters had left by the fireplace to dry. This legend helped popularize the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings.

Today, people commonly hang Christmas stockings along the fireplace mantel or on stair bannisters. The stockings are filled with small gifts, often on Christmas Eve so they can be discovered on Christmas morning. Filling stockings with little presents provides an element of surprise and excitement. Popular stocking stuffer ideas include candy, lip balm, socks, comic books, bath bombs, and more. The tradition turns gift-giving into a treasure hunt as children and adults alike rummage through their stockings to uncover the surprises inside. It’s a much-loved custom that adds festive flair and holiday magic.


[1] https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-stockings

[2] https://www.rinse.com/blog/rinse/history-and-tradition-christmas-stocking/

What to Put in a Kids’ Stocking

Kids’ stockings are a place to tuck in small surprises on Christmas morning. Typical stocking stuffers for kids include:

  • Age-appropriate small toys and trinkets like mini Lego sets, Play-Doh, mini Etch A Sketches, and puzzles (https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/gifts/stocking-stuffers-for-kids/)
  • Candy and chocolate like chocolate Santas, candy canes, and gummy bears
  • Small games like card games, miniature sudoku books, and travel versions of classic boardgames
  • Art supplies like crayons, markers, coloring books, and mini watercolor sets
  • Gift cards for online games, apps, movies or treats
  • Ornaments like picture frame ornaments kids can customize

When choosing stocking stuffers, think about your child’s age and interests. Focus on small items that will delight and won’t overwhelm the stocking. Spreading gifts throughout the stocking makes unwrapping part of the fun!

Christmas Stocking Alternatives

If you want to get creative and try something different from the traditional Christmas stocking, there are lots of fun alternatives to consider. Here are some popular options:

Pillowcase stockings – Decorative pillowcases make for a roomy, customizable stocking. Choose a holiday print or let kids decorate their own with fabric markers (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/150729918762524311/).

Backpacks or reusable shopping bags – Fill backpacks or reusable grocery totes with goodies for an eco-friendly take. Look for ones with holiday colors or patterns (https://www.polkadotpoplars.com/christmas-stocking-alternatives/).

Boxes or baskets – Wrap empty boxes or baskets with wrapping paper, fabric or burlap, then fill with gifts. Kids will love unwrapping each layer (https://www.pinterest.com/christideanne/~-christmas-stocking-alternatives-~/).

Hats or mittens – Hang adorable hats, mittens or scarves along the mantel and tuck small treats inside. Opt for red, green or white for a festive display.

With a little creativity, you can find all kinds of fun twists on the traditional Christmas stocking!

Fun Ways to Personalize

There are lots of fun ways to personalize Christmas stockings to make them unique for each child. Some popular options include:

Embroidering the child’s name or monogram onto the stocking. Having their name or initials stitched on gives a personalized touch. Personalized monogramming is a classic way to customize stockings. Customized stockings are available with different fonts and thread colors for the monogram.

Featuring the child’s favorite characters or hobbies. Kids love stockings with their favorite Disney, cartoon, or superhero characters. Hobby-themed stockings like ballet, dinosaurs, trucks, unicorns, or space are also fun. Custom stockings can include embroidered images of their special interests.

Choosing matching family member designs. A set of stockings with coordinating colors and themes helps create a cohesive look. Having the same style with each person’s name or initials makes for a unified family set.

Selecting unique shapes and styles. Along with traditional knit stockings, there are stockings shaped like boots, backpacks, snowmen, candy canes, and more. Novelty shapes add whimsy and delight for kids.

Where to Buy Christmas Stockings

Some of the best places to buy Christmas stockings include:

Department stores like Walmart source, Target, and Macy’s have a wide selection of stockings in different colors, fabrics, and designs. You can browse stockings in-store or order online and have them shipped to your home.

Specialty Christmas shops, whether online like Bed Bath & Beyond or local stores, tend to have unique and themed stockings not found at big retailers. These stores are dedicated to holiday decor.

Online retailers like Amazon source offer convenience and variety when buying Christmas stockings. You can get personalized or customized options and have them delivered in time for the holidays.

Handmade/Etsy sellers offer one-of-a-kind, handcrafted stockings. You can get a custom design not found anywhere else when you buy from independent artisans and small businesses on sites like Etsy.

When to Shop for Stockings

The best time to buy Christmas stockings is during major sales events throughout the year when retailers offer deep discounts. Three of the top times to find deals on stockings include:

Black Friday Sales – The day after Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday shopping season. Many retailers offer Black Friday deals both online and in stores. For example, major department stores like Macy’s and Kohl’s often have 50-60% off sales on stockings and other holiday decor during Black Friday weekend.

Post-Christmas Sales – Prices on Christmas decorations like stockings drastically drop in the days and weeks after December 25th. Retailers are eager to clear out holiday inventory to make room for new merchandise. Stockings can be found for 50-75% off or more during post-Christmas clearances.

Summer Sales – Believe it or not, summer is a great time to score deals on stockings. Retailers put out Christmas merchandise in July or August and offer discounts to jumpstart holiday shopping. For instance, https://www.romper.com/shopping/when-to-order-christmas-stockings notes that stockings are often 30% off or more during summer sales.

How to Make Your Own

Handcrafting a Christmas stocking is a fun DIY project and a great way to add a personal touch. Those who knit or crochet can find free patterns for knitted Christmas stockings online, like this classic knit stocking pattern from Red Heart Yarn.

For sewers, felt or fabric stockings allow ample room for creativity. The Diary of a Quilter blog has an excellent step-by-step sewing tutorial for making a lined Christmas stocking, walking through how to cut and sew the fabric pieces before assembling the final stocking. The tutorial even includes a free printable stocking pattern to follow along.

Those who enjoy arts and crafts can let their creativity run wild painting, stenciling, appliqueing, or embellishing stockings made from felt, burlap, canvas, or other materials. Fun craft ideas include adding puffy paint designs, gluing on pom poms or sequins, stitching initials or names, or attaching jingle bells. The options are endless!

Keepsake Ideas

Christmas stockings can become cherished family keepsakes and heirlooms when personalized and saved over the years. Here are some ideas for turning stockings into memories:

  • Date and initial embroider the stockings or use fabric markers for a homemade touch.

  • Save any artwork or letters to Santa your child puts in their stocking each year.

  • Take annual photos of your children with their filled stockings Christmas morning to record their growth over the years.

With a bit of creativity and care, stockings can become a holiday tradition to pass down for generations. The personal touches and memories will far outlast any temporary trinkets or treats.

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