The Origin of Christmas Stockings
While there is no direct proof of where the traditions of Christmas stockings began, it can be tied to an old story about Saint Nicholas, aka Santa. As the story goes, Saint Nicholas overheard an old man lamenting that he has three daughters but was too poor to pay dowries, and thus they would never marry.
Kindly Saint Nic, endeavoured to help him, and knowing that the old man would resist overt charity he came up with a plan to help the family in secret. As legend has it, Saint Nic threw gold coins in through the window, and they landed in the stockings that were hanging out to dry above the fireplace.
In the morning one of the daughters found the coins and was overjoyed that they now had the funds to marry! This folk tale is leaning towards an outdated and old-fashioned narrative, but this is said to be where the tradition of hanging stockings above the fireplace began.
In some stories it is told that Saint Nicholas threw in gold balls and that is where the tradition of placing tangerines into the stockings grew from. The tangerines were to represent the gold balls left for the girls by Saint Nicholas.
Why do naughty kids get a lump of coal?
The idea of naughty kids getting coal instead of gifts inside their stockings has many countries of origin. Lots of slight variations on the same theme that if you had been naughty Santa will stuff your stocking with coal. The coal is linked to the fact that Santa comes down the chimney to deliver the presents and if you haven’t made the good list, he will just grab coal out of the fireplace. You can make a funny joke with a gift of Lump of Coal for anyone you feel has been 'naughty' this year!
Where to hang your Stocking
Traditionally people hang their Stockings above a fireplace but not everyone’s home has a fireplace so lots of kids like to lay the stocking at the end of their bed for Santa to fill up with treats whilst they sleep. This was what I grew up doing and I still remember waking up and checking with my feet under the covers for the sound of the rustling full stocking and bursting with excitement that Santa had come!
Save Money on Gifts
There is no doubt that stockings can get very expensive very quickly. As my children have grown into adults, yet they still want the fun of a stocking, I make the stocking count as one of their actual gifts. That way you can add some goodies in that they may need, such as socks, gloves, keyrings, or a rolled-up T-shirt.
I tend to start picking the odd thing up while out and about in late October early November, that way the pressure is off when shops get busier, and you will spend less and select more meaningful gifts.
Share Things Between the Family
There are some tricks you can use to save some money. Buy multi-packs and split the items between family members, such as beauty products or sweets. If you buy a pack of lip balms or nail-polish, open them up and give out one each to all the family. It will save on buying them individually
Buy small versions of their favourite chocolate bar like sticks of Twix or KitKat. Kids love anything in mini so place small bags of Haribo’s or similar as little treats that don’t cost much at all. Also pad out the stocking with a couple of tangerines, to keep the old traditions alive. Buy Christmas chocolate covered nuts as a festive treat.
When making multiple stockings it pays to divide things up between your family, this is especially advantageous if you have two girls close in age, or you have a teenage son and husband to cater for. I like to buy packs of socks, stationery, nail polish, make-up sets and even pants and split them between all the stockings that need filling.
If buying for over 18’s a fun idea is to purchase miniature spirits, like the The Pink Gin Collection, at only £10.00 for 4 you could even sneak a cheeky G&T whilst your stuffing the stockings in the evening.
When stocking stuffing think small, buy mini versions of things, like travel toiletries, mini tools, jigsaw puzzles, or Trivia games that can be played after your Christmas dinner.
If you are creative, you could make something to put inside like a sweet-smelling drawer cushion or draw a special picture. Write a meaningful poem or note expressing how much the person means to you and thanking them for the year you've just had together. None of these ideas cost much, just the time spent and it will mean so much to the recipient.
There are lots of inexpensive ways to make thoughtful gifts with personalisation. Make fridge magnets or keyrings special with a favourite photo. You can get t-shirts printed with photos or funny slogans. These all make fun talking points for the family to enjoy.
For my family Christmas isn’t Christmas without the act of un-filling the stocking all over the living room floor. My son rips through his in seconds whilst my daughter sit and ponders on each item and savours the whole experience.
Stocking Ideas for Kids
Here are some fun ideas for Kids Christmas Stockings. Make sure to fill your kids' stockings with a variety of mini gifts such as jokes, stickers, sweets, bubble bath, card games, fidget toys, bubbles, rubbers, and coloured pencils. Check out my handy list to get started.
Stockings for Him
If you need some inspiration for filling a stocking for adult men, here are some fun products you may want to buy.
Fab Fillers for Ladies Stockings
These are some fun gifts that you can stuff into a special lady's stocking this Christmas.